Chapter 560 – Desert Oasis
Shao Qingge was more than a kilometer away from his teammates when he spoke. He once again saw the ‘mirage’ scene that he previously saw in the desert but it was currently night. The clear lake reflected the full moon and its surface was silent and windless. The desert greenery growing around him also cast a reflection on the lake.
There were lively sounds not far from the lake. Shao Qingge fixed his eyes on it and saw a campfire in the distance. A group of young women were dancing around the flames while dressed in strange, foreign clothing. The scarves on their heads covered half their faces and the girls’ thin waists were like water snakes that could be rotated and bent freely. Their dancing postures were very charming.
There were also many young men playing the guqin and drums to accompany the beautiful women. Children were playing around in a circle and the elderly set up tables full of delicacies.
The oasis bonfire party was very lively. After experiencing the thrilling ‘escape’ all day while suffering from hunger, Shao Qingge suddenly saw such a lively and peaceful scene and thought it was an illusion.
To make certain, he sped into the desert and approached the lake.
Unlike the mirage during the day, this time he soon came to the lake. A gust of wind blew and the light of the reflection in the lake sparkled. The breeze also brought the aroma of barbecue from not far away. This was the real oasis!
Shao Qingge immediately informed his teammates of the good news.
Xiao Lou heard this and hurriedly asked Ye Qi to use the teleportation card to lead him in Chief Shao’s direction.
The group came to Shao Qingge’s side in less than 10 seconds. Everyone hid behind a huge cactus in the darkness and the people who attended the bonfire party didn’t notice them.
Xiao Lou saw the lively scene not far away and frowned slightly. He asked in a low voice, “Are they celebrating a festival for so many people to be at the bonfire party?”
Shao Qingge said, “It seems to be the wedding of a couple. I just saw a young man and woman dressed in red clothing being invited to the middle of what appears to be the dance floor to hold a strange ceremony. Someone dressed like a wizard read some blessings.”
Ye Qi looked at the dancing people and was worried. “Most of these people should be plot NPCs living in the desert oasis, right? Still, there must be hunters mixed in with them, waiting to try and destroy our team.”
Xiao Lou turned his head to look at the clear lake water. It had been a whole day since he entered this challenge link and he had only drunk one sip of water. In addition, he had just been moving through the desert for two hours in a hurry. At this time, he already had a dry mouth and his lips were cracked. This lake water was a fatal temptation for him.
His body was desperately eager to drink water but reason stopped him.
Xiao Lou swallowed hard and looked away from the lake. He calmly instructed, “Don’t eat their food or drink the water here. Our goal is to find the medicine. We will take advantage of the time when the majority of people are attending the wedding banquet to quickly find it.”
“The oasis town is quite large and the five of us acting together is too eye-catching. It is better for us to go separately. I will investigate alone and will notify you through the earpiece if there is any news,” Shao Qingge suggested.
“I can also go alone. Chief Shao and I will go to the left and the right.” Chu Huaying looked at Xiao Lou and continued, “However, neither of us understands medicine. You need to tell us what type of medicine you are looking for.”
Xiao Lou thought about it for a moment. “The architectural style of this small town seems similar to a modern background. Look for pharmacies or hospitals along the road. The first choice for treatment of the plague is streptomycin. Bring it back to me if you find it.”
Shao Qingge and Chu Huaying nodded simultaneously. “Understood.”
Xiao Lou said, “I will act with Xiao Ye and Xiao Liu and continue to the north. Everyone, hurry and maintain the voice communication.”
They looked at each other and quickly separated at the three way intersection ahead. Xiao Lou’s group of three moved forward while Chu Huaying and Shao Qingge moved to the left and right. The figures of the five people quickly disappeared into the night.
Chu Huaying and Shao Qingge, who transformed into the bug king, both had top individual combat abilities. Xiao Lou wasn’t worried about their safety unless they were besieged by a large number of hunters. If the two of them encountered two or three hunters, they could protect themselves and escape quickly.
Ye Qi and Liu Qiao’s combat ability wasn’t strong. Fortunately, they had a large number of control cards. Add Xiao Lou’s summoning cards and the three of them could save their lives at a critical moment. Unfortunately, Ye Qi’s teleportation card had been invalidated and the teleportation card copied by Chief Shao only had the last 10 minutes left. They had to seize every second.
Fortunately, the desert was vast and sparsely populated. The roads in the oasis town didn’t have winding paths. They were all straight and wide roads and this made it very convenient for them to use the teleportation card to move.
The wedding reception was held by the lake and most of the houses in the town weren’t occupied.
No one was in the houses which meant there was no light. Xiao Lou didn’t dare directly take out the Night Pearl in case it attracted the hunters in the town. He could only identify the path with the help of the moon’s dim light. He used the North Star in the sky to determine the direction.
The three of them moved around the labyrinth-like town but didn’t find any traces of a pharmacy or hospital.
Time passed minute by minute and Xiao Lou became more nervous. He found a corner where no one was present and pressed down on the earpiece. He asked in a low voice, “Chief Shao, Huaying, have you found anything?”
Shao Qingge replied, “I didn’t see a pharmacy but a few kilometers ahead, I can see a large orchard growing grapes. These grapes shouldn’t be poisonous and I can pick some for everyone to eat.”
Chu Huaying answered, “It seems that I am in the area where they raise camels. There isn’t a single person here. Further on is a desert with no end in sight.”
It seemed that Huaying and Chief Shao didn’t go in the right direction.
Assuming that there really was a pharmacy in the oasis town, it must be in the direction where Xiao Lou’s group was heading.
Xiao Lou took a deep breath to stabilize his mind and continued to lead his teammates forward.
The further forward they went, the more forks in the road there were. If he hadn’t kept his composure and located the direction through the North Star, he would’ve lost his way in this dark town.
A few more minutes passed and a fork in the road appeared again.
Xiao Lou carved a symbol on the stone at the fork in the road. First, he went to the left. If he encountered a dead end, he turned back and headed in the other direction.
After walking some distance, a soft light appeared in his field of view. There was a red cross-shaped sign next to it.
Seeing this light was like a ship drifting in the dark sea finally seeing a lighthouse!
The red cross was the unique mark of medical institutions.
Xiao Lou was overjoyed and hurried toward the simple two storey building.
They got closer and saw a sign at the door with the word ‘hospital’ written on it.
There weren’t too many people in the hospital in the middle of the night. The old doctor in the duty room was dozing off. Xiao Lou dodged his line of sight and entered the building with Ye Qi and Liu Qiao.
The lights in the building flickered on and off. The light bulbs seemed to be broken and they made a buzzing sound when they flickered. Xiao Lou walked for a few seconds before realizing something was wrong. There was a mirror on each door. The moment the light came on, he suddenly saw his grandmother appear in the mirror at the end of the corridor.
The white-haired grandmother had the corners of her lips curved up while her eyes were narrowed. Her smile was kind and loving. However, suddenly seeing his grandmother in the mirror in the hospital corridor of this desert oasis town, Xiao Lou didn’t feel the care of an elder at all. He only felt a chill rising from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Even his blood was almost frozen.
What was going on? Wasn’t this a hospital?
At the same time, Ye Qi stared blankly at a mirror. “I see my mother. Is this an illusion?”
Liu Qiao stared closely at a door in front of her and murmured softly, “Sister?”
Xiao Lou immediately stopped. “Something is wrong. Everyone, retreat!”
He hurriedly retreated with Ye Qi and Liu Qiao when two pale corpse-like hands stretched out from the mirrors of the two doors next to them. These hands pulled Liu Qiao and Ye Qi into the mirror with force at the same time!
Xiao Lou’s heart tensed when he saw Ye Qi and Liu Qiao disappear.
It was the hunters.
Perhaps they had entered the absolute realm arranged by the hunter or perhaps this was a hospital labyrinth deliberately ‘built’ by a hunter. The hunters were just waiting for them to come.
Xiao Lou clenched his fists hard to calm himself down.
He stepped back warily and pressed down on the earpiece. He asked in a low voice, “Ye Qi, Liu Qiao, do you hear me?”
Ye Qi quickly replied, “Professor Xiao, this is a mirror labyrinth and I’m surrounded by mirrors. I can’t tell the direction.”
Liu Qiao didn’t reply immediately. It wasn’t known if she was lost in the labyrinth.
Xiao Lou asked with worry, “Liu Qiao?”
A few seconds later, Liu Qiao’s voice was heard in his ears. “I am here. Professor Xiao, the place I’m at is also full of mirrors. If I push open any door, I will enter another room full of mirrors. How do I get out?”
It seemed that this was a serial mirror labyrinth.
Xiao Lou had a splitting headache. Xiao Liu and Ye Qi weren’t good at labyrinths. Old Mo wasn’t around right now and they could only rely on him. He took a deep breath. “Don’t worry, calm down and tell me how many walls are in the room.”
Liu Qiao answered, “Four.”
Ye Qi also answered, “Four walls.”
Xiao Lou carefully analyzed it in his mind for a moment. “It might be a series of labyrinths composed of countless square rooms. My location is the central corridor. Liu Qiao is on my left and should move clockwise. On the other hand, Ye Qi should walk counterclockwise and you should be able to return to the original position. If you still can’t see me then it means my inference is wrong…”
Ye Qi and Liu Qiao followed Xiao Lou’s instructions and each pushed open a mirror door.
Soon, Liu Qiao’s figure appeared in Xiao Lou’s field of view.
The girl’s face was pale and her gaze remained calm. She walked over to Xiao Lou and sighed with relief. “Professor Xiao is really powerful. You saw the rule of the labyrinth so quickly.”
Xiao Lou was just about to speak when suddenly, a cold light flashed in Liu Qiao’s hand.
A sharp dagger plunged into Xiao Lou’s chest like lightning.
This knife was fast, fierce and accurate. It simply and neatly pierced Xiao Lou’s heart.
The moment when blood spurted from his chest, Xiao Lou faced a pair of cold eyes. These eyes might belong to Liu Qiao but they looked particularly strange.
Before Xiao Lou could react, he completely lost consciousness.
At the same time, two unbelievable messages popped up in the floating boxes of all the team members.
[The captain Xiao Lou has died and the owner of the team contract book has been transferred to Yu Hanjiang.]
[The captain Yu Hanjiang has died and the owner of the team contract book has been transferred to Shao Qingge.]
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten & Fictional Reality