Chapter 484 – Lost Contact
At the same time, outside Qingfeng Town.
Based on Xiao Lou’s arrangement, Ye Qi and Shao Qingge stayed outside the town with the Tao Yuanming card. The two of them found a hidden corner and opened the Peach Blossom Spring in advance, preparing to teleport their teammates if they were in danger.
The existence of the Peach Blossom Spring lasted three hours and the two Tao Yuanming cards meant they could use the skills twice. That was six hours.
After six hours, it would already be dawn. From a logical point of view, everyone could escape no matter how difficult, as long as there was the Tao Yuanming card.
Ye Qi and Shao Qingge were very safe in the Peach Blossom Spring and no one could find them.
Shao Qingge also had the Qin Guan card in his hand. He originally planned to connect to Xiao Lou using Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings. As a result, he tried to activate the skill when he saw a notification appear on the floating box above his head. [The card skill is blocked and the effect is invalid.]
The familiar notification reminded the two of them of the scene in the Q secret room.
Ye Qi was nervous. “D*mn. Professor Xiao’s group might’ve encountered a hunter who happens to be holding the Magnetic Field Shielding card. Surely nothing will happen to them?”
Shao Qingge patted Ye Qi on the shoulder and comforted him. “Don’t worry. With Xiao Lou’s IQ, it isn’t easy for them to be killed by hunters. Even if they do encounter hunters, they will always have a way to deal with them. Wait five minutes and talk about it later.”
The Magnetic Field Shielding card had a duration of five minutes. Ye Qi remembered it clearly. He paced back and forth anxiously before five minutes finally passed. Ye Qi immediately pressed on the bulge of the earpiece and asked, “Professor Xiao, can you hear me?”
There was no sound.
Shao Qingge noticed that something was wrong. He also pressed on the team communicator and asked, “Brother Jiu, please answer when you hear this.”
They had also lost contact with Lu Jiuchuan’s team.
The headset was so quiet that there wasn’t a single murmur.
Ye Qi and Shao Qingge looked at each other with dismay. Originally, Xiao Lou arranged for the two of them to stay at the gate of the town to open the Peach Blossom Spring so they could serve as backup and teleport their teammates at any time. Now both Xiao Lou’s team and Lu Jiuchuan’s team had lost contact and they were completely useless! They didn’t know if their teammates were in danger or when teleportation was needed.
Shao Qingge and Ye Qi seemed to be isolated in the Peach Blossom Spring.
Ye Qi wanted to go out but Shao Qingge grabbed his wrist and spoke in a low voice, “Don’t go out yet. There is something wrong outside.”
Ye Qi’s expression was anxious. “However, there is no contact through the voice channel. They must be in danger!”
Shao Qingge looked at the peach blossom tree next to him and touched his chin. He wondered doubtfully, “The failure of the voice channel obviously isn’t due to the magnetic field shielding. This card only lasts for five minutes and the time has passed. What is going on?”
Ye Qi thought about it and had a guess. “The effective range of the team communication is 10 kilometers. Are they out of the card’s range? There is no signal from the voice headset if it exceeds 10 kilometers.”
Shao Qingge murmured, “No matter whether it is the small town or forest, it isn’t more than 10 kilometers away from us. Unless…”
Ye Qi interjected, “Space isolation?”
Shao Qingge nodded. “The ghost town that Xiao Lou led the team to might not be in the town. Then after Brother Jiu entered the forest, he might’ve been transported to another world. This way, they are out of the 10 kilometers range and the Voice Headset card has lost its effect.”
Ye Qi also felt that this speculation was reasonable. He scratched his head and asked in a distressed manner, “What should we do?”
Shao Qingge thought about it. “I will open the teleportation first. They can accept it or reject it but at least this will let them know that we are still in the Peach Blossom Spring and that the Peach Blossom Spring is functioning normally.”
Ye Qi saw this man who had a serious expression and felt very complicated. The first time he met Chief Shao, this man always liked to smile and follow behind everyone, saying that he wanted to ‘lie down and win’. Then after being infected by the bugs in 8 of Spades and gaining the Bug King card, Shao Qingge seemed to have become more cautious and attentive. He even joked less.
Even without Xiao Lou, he would try to analyze the situation instead of waiting for his teammates to lead him to win.
Ye Qi joked, “You seem to have changed a lot. It has been a long time since I heard you say that you won by lying down.”
Shao Qingge looked at him with gentle eyes and thought, ‘It is because now I have someone I want to protect. The last time when the spaceship of the star thieves was falling, I felt the despair of hugging you and not daring to say anything. I never want to experience that again. This world is full of crises. If I don’t get stronger, how can I take you back?’
Shao Qingge took a deep breath. He gently rubbed Ye Qi’s head and said with a smile, “Will it be useful if I say I want to lie down and win? You can’t take me to lie down and win. Or are you going to run out of the Peach Blossom Spring and play the suona?”
Ye Qi, “……”
The problem with this person’s mouth hadn’t changed. It seemed he was thinking too much.
Shao Qingge put away his jokes and opened the Peach Blossom Spring’s teleportation.
At the same time, the forest.
Lu Jiuchuan hid near the hunter’s wooden house with Tang Ci, Huaying and Gui Yuanzhang.
According to the hunter, on a rainy night three years ago, he saw the bridal procession walking toward the mass burial site with expressionless faces like they were zombies. This proved that the murderer manipulated the victims to go to the mass burial site and they must pass through this path.
If they waited here, perhaps they could see the murderer’s killing process.
The four people held their breaths and hid behind a big tree to wait patiently.
They didn’t know how much time passed before there was a flash of lightning in the sky and the rumbling sound of thunder overhead. This was followed by a torrential rain that poured down on the four people in an instant.
Lu Jiuchuan wanted to curse in his heart. What was with this weather? Did it have to rain every night? He almost caught a cold last night and now he was drenched again. Did he need to move with an umbrella when going out?
Just then, Tang Ci spoke softly, “Do you hear any strange sounds?”
Lu Jiuchuan was stunned and strained his ears to listen carefully.
The rumbling thunder sound was heard one after another, blasting people’s eardrums. Yet mixed in with it was a clear sound that was like thunder but wasn’t thunder. It was just difficult to hear clearly because the loud thunder covered up other sounds.
It wasn’t until the thunder and rain stopped that the sound clearly emerged.
Dang dang, dang dang…
It was the sound of beads hitting a drum surface—the rattle-drum!
In the dark night, the sudden sound of rattle-drums made everyone alert. Lu Jiuchuan said in a deep voice, “The murderer might be taking action. Prepare your invisibility cloaks!”
The four people quickly wore their invisibility cloaks.
The moment they put it on, they saw a group of people appearing in front of them. It was the Zhao family’s bridal procession!
Three years ago, the young lady of the Zhao family, Zhao Zean, got married at yinshi. The bridal procession left the town and was controlled by someone to walk into the mountain forest. They walked all the way to the mass burial site and never returned.
Now they met the bridal procession again in the forest?
Wasn’t the expressionless and sluggish young girl walking next to the sedan chair the same one who was dissected by Xiao Lou at the mass burial site today? The embroidered shoes on her feet were highly recognizable and Lu Jiuchuan had paid special attention to them.
Lu Jiuchuan asked in a puzzled manner, “Is it an illusion of the scene from three years ago?”
Tang Ci suggested, “Is it also possible that the time flow in this world is chaotic and we have been transported to the time and space of three years ago.”
Gui Yuanzhang hurriedly pressed down on the earpiece to contact their teammates in a low voice. “Professor Xiao, Chief Shao, please answer when you hear this.”
There was no sound.
Lu Jiuchuan felt a chill in his heart. If they were really transported to three years ago then they had definitely lost contact with their teammates. If the timelines didn’t match, the team headsets were naturally useless. How was it possible to talk to someone in another timeline?
Tang Ci’s speculation made everyone very uneasy. Chu Huaying frowned and said, “It doesn’t matter if we came to the timeline of three years ago or if we are seeing an illusion. We can only continue to investigate. Do you want to follow them?”
Lu Jiuchuan nodded. “Let’s go.”
The four of them used the invisibility cloaks to quickly follow behind the bridal procession.
The dozens of people in red clothes walked forward like puppets. They were all expressionless and they were indeed walking in the direction of the mass burial site.
The rattle-drum was like a signal to guide them forward.
The thing that puzzled Lu Jiuchuan was that he couldn’t see where the rattle-drum was at all, let alone find the person manipulating it.
The closer they got to the mass burial site, the more pronounced the sound.
This sound seemed to be a natural sound from the depths of their minds. As it got louder, the only thing left in their minds was the sound of the rattle-drum. The four people had a headache as the sound took over and they felt like their heads were going to explode. They almost lost consciousness.
Fortunately, there was the team earpiece in one ear. They weren’t completely brainwashed by the magic sound. Lu Jiuchuan hurriedly covered his ears and ordered, “Don’t listen. The key to controlling a person’s consciousness is this sound!”
Tang Ci was already pale from the noise. His head was buzzing and he was almost unable to tell where he was. Fortunately, Lu Jiuchuan’s loud voice woke him up and he immediately covered his ears.
The four of them stopped, their expressions ugly.
Gui Yuanzhang calmly said, “We can’t follow. The source of this sound should be at the mass grave. Once we get too close, our consciousness will be manipulated by the murderer and we will die.”
Lu Jiuchuan clenched his fists tightly, his face pale. He remembered that when he went to the mass burial site with Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang during the day, the zombies suddenly started to surround them. Obviously, it wasn’t the corpses becoming zombies but the corpses being controlled by this strange sound and following its instructions.
If they continued to follow, it wouldn’t end well regardless of whether they were controlled by the murderer or besieged by zombies.
Yet Lu Jiuchuan was really unwilling when seeing the bridal procession walk in front of him.
Tang Ci softly persuaded him. “Brother Jiu, we must first confirm whether we have come to the time three years ago or if we are simply seeing an illusion. If it is really three years ago, we probably won’t be able to change the outcome of history and these people will surely die.”
Lu Jiuchuan thought about it carefully and felt that Tang Ci’s words were right. He nodded and instructed in a low voice, “Retreat first. Go back and check if Chief Shao and Ye Qi are at the gate of the town.”
The four people retreated quickly.
Soon, they came to the wooden house where they had been hiding just now.
Another group of people lined up to walk to the mass grave. They should be the people who disappeared three years ago. Judging by their clothes, they were from Qingfeng Town but Lu Jiuchuan’s group didn’t know them. It wasn’t known if they were from the Zhao family or Chen family. The four people hid using the invisibility cloaks. Lu Jiuchuan keenly noticed that the window of the wooden house was opened by a gap. A man with messy hair like a chicken nest looked out before quickly retreating.
It wasn’t until the group of people walked away that Lu Jiuchuan spoke. “Isn’t this the hunter who was tied at the bottom of the cliff by us during the day? I remember that his hair wasn’t this long.”
Tang Ci was silent for a moment. “We probably really went back in time to three years ago.”
Lu Jiuchuan thought the same but he still wasn’t completely sure. He simply flew up a tree, entered the wooden house and came behind the hunter like the wind. He controlled the hunter in a few moves and asked in a deep voice, “What year is it?”
The hunter trembled with fright. “Ahhhh, ghost, ghost! No, don’t kill me.”
Lu Jiuchuan frowned. “I am asking you something. Is it the year of the sheep?”
The hunter was stunned by the question for the moment before stammering out, “I-It is the year of the dragon, the dragon. Uh, the year of our world and your underworld should be the same, right?” Then he quickly hugged his head and begged for mercy, “Don’t kill me! I haven’t done anything bad. There are no debts or grievances. Brother, I’m asking you to spare my life…”
The force around his neck was released and a gust of wind blew through the window. The hunter was stunned and found that there was no one behind him. He thought, ‘It really is a ghost!’
Lu Jiuchuan flew to Tang Ci’s side and spoke with a calm voice, “This is indeed three years ago. This hunter was a witness of the scene three years ago and he did see the bridal procession walking like zombies.”
Tang Ci, “……”
His speculation turned out to be true. He didn’t know what to say.
Chu Huaying spoke coldly, “It isn’t strange for the keepers to manipulate time. However, we were sent to three years ago and we can’t get in contact with Xiao Lou and the others for the time being. It is difficult to summarize and analyze even if we find some clues.”
Lu Jiuchuan said, “Investigate first and find a way to go back when it is dawn.”
Their team was scattered into different times and spaces. Perhaps this was the biggest difficulty of the K secret room.
After Shao Qingge sent the invitation to the Peach Blossom Spring, none of his teammates responded. The invitation was sent out for a long time but he and Ye Qi were still staring at each other under the peach blossom trees.
Ye Qi was confused. “Why is this happening? There is no ‘card shielding’ notification on the floating box. Why is the teleportation of the Peach Blossom Spring still failing?”
Shao Qingge didn’t understand the reason. Thinking about it, the Peach Blossom Spring’s failure had only happened twice.
Once was when they encountered the hunter’s Magnetic Field Shielding card and all their cards lost their effect. The Peach Blossom Spring naturally wasn’t immune. The other time was in the interstellar secret room when Xiao Lou couldn’t pull Liu Qiao over. It was because Liu Qiao, Old Mo and Senior Gui were in the merpeople palace on Azure Planet. They couldn’t be teleported across planets.
Now there was no more card shielding so there was only one explanation.
Xiao Lou and the others were likely to be in a different time or space. It was similar to the interstellar crossing of the Q secret room so they couldn’t be pulled over.
Shao Qingge thought of this and said, “Perhaps it is because Xiao Lou and Brother Jiu were teleported to another space?”
Ye Qi scratched his head in a puzzled manner. “Last night, Professor Xiao and the others were also in the ghost town. Brother Jiu placed the Peach Blossom Spring and pulled them over. It doesn’t make sense that they couldn’t be teleported out of the ghost town tonight, right?”
Shao Qingge suddenly suggested, “What if we were the ones teleported to another space?”
Ye Qi was stunned. “You mean…”
Xiao Lou’s group had stayed at the inn in the town and should’ve entered the ghost town at night. Ye Qi and Shao Qingge were at the gate of the town. In the same situation last night, Lu Jiuchuan used the Peach Blossom Spring to teleport his teammates yet the teleportation failed tonight. If Xiao Lou and the others hadn’t changed positions then it must be Shao Qingge and Ye Qi who changed positions.
The two of them looked at each other and quickly walked out of the Peach Blossom Spring.
The words ‘Qingfeng Town’ were still written at the entrance of the town but the strange thing was that they heard the cries of a child as soon as they came out.
The bright moon hung high in the sky and the cold wind was chilly. The trees along the side of the road were all dry and the branches cast messy shadows on the road. They followed the sound of crying and saw a woman sitting by the roadside and eating tree bark like she was madly hungry. She was holding a baby in her arms and the crying came from the baby.
The baby was so thin that only a handful of bones remained. The woman was just as thin. After seeing the brightly dressed Ye Qi and Shao Qingge, the woman’s eyes reddened. Like a hungry wolf seeing a beast, she crawled over and knelt down in front of Ye Qi, beginning, “Young Master, give me something to eat. Please! I haven’t eaten a meal in five days!”
Ye Qi was startled and immediately retreated. Shao Qingge stepped in front of him and frowned at the kneeling woman. “What happened in the town? How come you haven’t eaten in so long?”
The woman looked at them doubtfully. “Don’t you know there is a famine in the town?”
Shao Qingge and Ye Qi exchanged looks.
A different time and space, the Peach Blossom Spring’s teleportation failing… famine?
Ye Qi thought of a terrible possibility and asked in a trembling voice, “Is this the year of the pig?”
The woman nodded. “Yes!”
Ye Qi, “……”
The famine of twenty years ago.
He and Shao Qingge actually came to the Qingfeng Town of 20 years ago!
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality