CR: Chapter 96

Yu Hanjiang had returned Ye Qi’s teleport card before leaving 3 of Spades. At this time, watching Ye Qi and Shao Qingge enter the village, Xiao Lou felt very familiar and quickly asked, “Should we follow?”

“Yes, Professor Shao should use the acceleration shoes.”

Previous, Yu Hanjiang had drawn the S-grade equipment card Gale. The skill attached increased movement speed by five times. Ye Qi and Shao Qingge could teleport but there was a drawback to the Teleport Card. They could only teleport in a straight line and couldn’t penetrate past obstacles. The roads in the village were curved and it wasn’t difficult to catch up with them.

Xiao Lou opened the skill of the acceleration shoes and moved like the wind was at his feet. He moved in the direction that Ye Qi and Shao Qingge disappeared and quickly caught up. Yu Hanjiang followed closely, keeping a certain distance.

Group Leader Yu could actually keep up despite not having the acceleration. Xiao Lou felt ashamed. It seemed that his physical strength and speed were too different from Group Leader Yu. His speed was accelerated by five times yet Group Leader Yu could still catch up. In the future, he would have to do more physical training.

The roads in the village weren’t complicated. The two of them followed and Ye Qi and Shao Qingge soon appeared in their field of view. Ye Qi and Shao Qingge had obviously entered a dead end and were about to turn back when they encountered Xiao Lou.

Under the moonlight, they couldn’t see each other’s faces, only a vague outline. Ye Qi found his way blocked by two men and instinctively wanted to leave. Yu Hanjiang grabbed his clothes and spoke in a low voice, “Why are you running? It’s us.”

The voice was low and cold but he seemed to have heard it somewhere before? Ye Qi hadn’t reflected over the identity of the other man when he heard a gentle voice in his ears. “Little Ye, you forgot us so quickly?”

It was Professor Xiao’s voice! Ye Qi’s eyes lit up excitedly. “It is you!”

Yu Hanjiang made a ‘quiet’ gesture and pointed to a large tree in the distance. Ye Qi understood and quickly followed. The four people came to a distant tree. Shao Qingge smiled and said, “I thought we wouldn’t encounter you this time. We wasted too much time in 3 of Hearts and 4 of Diamonds.”

Yu Hanjiang wondered, “3 of Hearts? Didn’t we tell you about it before?”

Shao Qingge, “……”

Group Leader Yu was still so direct.

Ye Qi stared at Shao Qingge. “You already knew the plot? No wonder why you were looking for a Ying Xiaoya around Maple Forest High School! I was wondering who Ying Xiaoya was. It turned out you were given the plot by Group Leader Yu and Professor Xiao!”

The revealed Shao Qingge showed no embarrassment. His peach blossom eyes narrowed and he smiled. “It is a pity there was no Ying Xiaoya in the world we entered. The deceased was a girl called Zhou Yu and the murderer wasn’t called Zhang Qing.”

Ye Qi continued, “The deceased in Maple Forest High School wasn’t Ying Xiaoya but the plot should be similar to Shao Qingge’s speculation. It was a story of revenge and Shao Qingge found the book Count of Monte Cristo.”

At that time, Ye Qi had truly felt admiration. Shao Qingge had actually locked onto the murderer through the book. He didn’t expect that Shao Qingge knew the plot in advance from Professor Xiao…

Xiao Lou heard up to here and was thoughtful. “You mean, the names  of the main character of the Hearts room and the killer changed?”

Shao Qingge nodded. “It is similar to how the mechanisms in the Diamonds room are similar but the questions are different. I feel that the Hearts secret room has a question bank. After different challengers enter, the plot will be randomly selected. The general direction is similar but there will be differences in the small details. Therefore, we can’t just rely on other people’s spoilers to clear the instance perfectly. We have to use our brain to find clues.”

Yu Hanjiang asked, “Did you also encounter trouble in 4 of Diamonds?”

Ye Qi looked embarrassed. “We thought for a long time at the body weight scale. We finally decided to lie down but it took more than 25 minutes.”

“It’s fine as long as you cleared the instance.” Xiao Lou smiled and patted the young man’s shoulder. “The time flow rate in the second room is regulated by the keeper. You went to 3 of Hearts, 4 of Clubs and then 4 of Diamonds. We went to 3 of Clubs, 4 of Hearts and 4 of Diamonds. We both experienced three secret rooms and the times were really matched together.”

Ye Qi’s eyes were full of joy as he looked at Xiao Lou. “Yes! I suddenly have a lot more confidence with your presence.”

Shao Qingge said, “You can’t be careless. I’ve found that many challengers have gone into the village and the number of people matched this time should be no less than Financial Crisis. The most critical thing is the prompt when entering Liuxi Village.”

“You mean how there are seven gems in the village and you must find one to clear the instance?” Xiao Lou asked.

Shao Qingge nodded. “The clearance is calculated according to the team. Ye Qi and I signed a contract and we’re counted as one team. The two of you are another team. This means that we must find two gems if all four of us want to clear the instance.”

Ye Qi also reacted by nervously saying, “I just saw someone acting alone with no teammate around. He would only have to find one gem to clear the instance. There are seven teams in total but those with more than one team would definitely add up to more than seven. This means the final clearance item will be in short supply?”

Yu Hanjiang frowned slightly and lowered his voice. “This is obviously a problem created for 4 of Spades. In the later stages, in order to clear the instance, there will be a direct competition between challengers. Those who don’t receive gems will try to steal the gems of others. Unlike the Financial Crisis, we can’t work together to clear the instance. Challengers are bound to be eliminated in this secret room. We can’t blindly trust other challengers.”

Perhaps the other side would say to work together on the surface but they would steal a gem at the last moment. People’s minds were unpredictable and had to be guarded against.

Xiao Lou agreed. “In this secret room, we can only look after ourselves. The four of us will have to find two gems to clear the instance and we don’t have the energy to help other challengers. If someone steals our stones then everything will come to naught.”

Yu Hanjiang nodded. “We will advance into the village, check the terrain of the village and draw a map.”

Xiao Lou asked, “Act together?”

Yu Hanjiang shook his head. “Act separately. Ye Qi and Shao Qingge have the teleportation card. You check the west and north of the village. Professor Xiao and I will check the south and east directions.”

Neither of them had an opinion on this. Xiao Lou reminded them, “By the way, there is an old lady surnamed Qin who raised a huge Tibetan mastiff. That dog is very fierce. If you meet it then you must hide.”

Ye Qi’s face turned white. “Tibetan mastiff? Is that the black dog that seriously injured the two challengers?”

“Yes, it has a very sensitive sense of smell and can smell a stranger.” Xiao Lou suggested, “If you encounter it, you can use the 4 of Diamonds reward card, Balance to first trap it for five seconds. Then hastily escape using teleportation.”

“I understand.” Ye Qi nodded vigorously. “We have the Teleport card and it can’t catch up.”

Yu Hanjiang warned them, “Be careful. We will meet here an hour later.”

The four people headed into the village. Ye Qi and Shao Qingge headed to the west and Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang to the east.

Under the moonlight, there were constant dark shadows shaking in the quiet village. Very light footsteps could be heard.

Xiao Lou roughly counted. He and Group Leader Yu moved and encountered nearly 10 people. There were also those Ye Qi and Shao Qingge would meet in the west so this secret room must have more than 20 challengers.

Most of the challengers who came to 4 of Spades weren’t weak. They would certainly have many reward cards in their hands from clearing the instance e.g. flying through the sky, crawling along the ground, hooking ropes to buildings, etc. Xiao Lou couldn’t thinking of martial arts movies. A secret treasure appeared in a mountain village and various experts moved in the dead of night to steal it.

Since the beginning of the secret room, two idiots acted rashly and were immediately eliminated. Everyone kept this in mind and tried to move lightly in order not to disturb the sleeping villagers or alarm other challengers.

Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang met a male and female team. They looked at each other and left quickly. They had no intention of disturbing the other side and were busy discovering the terrain of the village.

Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang moved through the village and didn’t care about others. They examined the village, roads, trees and buildings…

Just then, Xiao Lou suddenly saw a huge lantern rising n the distant sky. This was similar to the ancient ‘sky lanterns’, round lanterns floating in the air that emitted a warm light. There was a ribbon hanging from it with the words written: All challengers, please gather.

The two people glanced at each other. Xiao Lou  wondered, “This person wants to do something?”

Yu Hanjiang whispered, “Let’s ignore them and keep figuring out the terrain of the village.”

The villagers in Liuxi Village were all blind except for the person with a genetic mutation. This meant they couldn’t see the lantern in the sky. Today was only the first day of the secret room and the hidden boss who could see wouldn’t be attracted by the lantern. He wouldn’t go out to expose his identity directly. Therefore, this person could release the signal light at night to lead other challengers to meet them. It was probably to discuss countermeasures.

Still, Yu Hanjiang didn’t intend to go. The challengers were a mixture of fish and dragons. It wasn’t necessarily a good thing to act together.

For the time being, the two people ignored the lights in the sky and continued to investigate.

Suddenly, Xiao Lou heard the familiar barking of a dog. It broke the quiet of the night and the sound was coming from an alley not far away. A challenger had surprised the Tibetan mastiff!

Xiao Lou saw two females running for their lives out of the alley. He immediately stopped the two of them. “What is the situation?”

A girl spoke with a white face. “That dog’s sense of hearing and smell are too keen. We didn’t enter the house at all and just happened to pass by the door when it started barking!”

The other girl was relatively calm. “I’m afraid the villagers are going to wake up like this.”

Xiao Lou also had this concern. If the barks of the Tibetan mastiff woke the villagers, it would be bad. There were many challengers in the village. This movement wasn’t small and the villagers had keen ears. It was likely that the challengers would be found by the villagers, all of them would be driven out and would have to spend the night with the beasts outside the village.

Xiao Lou glanced at Yu Hanjiang and whispered, “Group Leader Yu, I want to try and control this Tibetan mastiff so it stops barking.”

Yu Hanjiang realized what he was going to do and nodded. “Okay, I’ll cover you.”

The two girls were surprised to find that instead of fleeing, these people turned and walked toward the house where the Tibetan mastiff was located.

Xiao Lou walked through the door and saw the Tibetan mastiff. Under the moonlight, the almost one metre tall Tibetan mastiff cast a huge black shadow on the ground. It was tied to a stone pillar and angrily clawing at the ground as it growled fiercely. It was obviously very angry at the stranger’s invasion of its territory.

Xiao Lou decisively summoned Qin Guan.

Additional Skills 1: Tender like water, good times like a dream.

Qin Guan gently looked at the Tibetan mastiff. The ferocious dog looked stupid for a moment before it entered a beautiful dream. In the dream, it saw a beautiful female dog with a golden body. He chased after the other dog in a drooling manner and the beautiful dog licked his head.

Tibetan mastiff, “…”

The Tibetan mastiff was intoxicated by the ‘good dream’ and didn’t continue to growl. It lay in a docile member on the ground.

Yu Hanjiang, “……”

Xiao Lou didn’t expect Qin Guan’s single target control skill to be so powerful. The fierce dog suddenly became so docile and Xiao Lou didn’t know if he should laugh or cry. He spoke to Yu Hanjiang, “It is done but this skill can control the dog for three minutes at most. We should finish investigating this alley as soon as possible.”

Three minutes was enough for Yu Hanjiang, who was good at scouting.

Yu Hanjiang quickly checked this road. There were a total of three homes in this alley with two forks at the end. He turned and returned to the entrance of the alley where the two girls were still waiting for them. “That dog?”

Xiao Lou told them, “It is sleeping. However, it might wake up soon. You should leave this area and not startle it.”

The two girls nodded and turned away nervously.

On the first night, all the villagers were sleeping soundly apart from the Tibetan mastiff.

Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang quickly figured out the terrain of the village and returned to the large tree to meet Shao Qingge and Ye Qi. Yu Hanjiang took a large lotus leaf and drew a map of the south-east village on it. Shao Qingge and Ye Qi filled in the north-west of the village. The four people looked down carefully.

The layout of this village was a square. The east, south, west and north each had an entrance. The two main roads formed a ‘well’ shaped traffic network in the village. On the main road, there were several small branches. These were basically a lane with only one family and were dead ends.

There were more than 120 families in the entire village, all of them living in the most traditional brick houses. The shape of the building was exactly the same and there were no numbered doors, meaning it was easy for strangers to get lost when they entered the village.

Everyone had a vegetable garden that grew many common vegetables. Many people had dogs but most of the dogs were asleep at the time. Only the most ferocious Tibetan mastiff in the east of the village at Old Lady Qin’s home had been asleep.

Yu Hanjiang marked the location of the Tibetan mastiffs on the map.

Ye Qi said, “We saw a small mountain to the west of the village. Spring water flows down the mountain and forms the streams that surround the village. The villager’s drinking water should be from the spring in the mountains.”

Shao Qingge added, “There is a large pond in the northwest. I don’t know if you can fish there.”

Yu Hanjiang continued, “We went to the east and south. There is a large farmland area where the villagers planted crops.”

The east and south were farmland, the west had the spring and the north had the large pond. Outside were layers of mountains while this village was like a piece of natural jade that accidentally fell into the mountains.

Yu Hanjiang looked down at the plan of the entire village and was silent for a moment. “The gem might be hidden in the villagers’ home. Old Lady Qin who keeps the Tibetan mastiff requires special attention. In the next few days, we’ll have to check every part of the mountain, pond and farmland.”

“Do you want to find a place to live first?” Xiao Lou asked. “Little Ye, do you go up the mountain in the west?”

“It was so dark that we didn’t dare go up. We only saw the spring water flowing down the mountain and into the spring.” Ye Qi paused, his eyes very disturbed. “Will there be beasts or snakes on this mountain?”

Xiao Lou smiled. “No.”

Ye Qi asked incredulously, “Didn’t the secret room prompt say there were beasts in the mountains?”

Xiao Lou explained, “Those are mountains outside the village. The mountain is within the boundary of Liuxi Village. If you think about it, many villagers came from the mountain in the west in the evening. Since blind people dare to go up the mountain to fetch water, it proves that the mountain should be safe.”

Yu Hanjiang nodded in agreement. “Yes, if there are beasts in this mountain then the villagers can’t up the mountain every day to get water.”

Ye Qi suddenly realized and scratched his head. “Yes! I didn’t think…”

Shao Qingge smiled at him. “Let’s go. We can go to the mountain tonight to find a place to sleep.”

The four people moved together and came to the mountain in the west.

The mountain was very small and had many tree species planted on it. There was a road that was very flat and had obviously been stepped on by the villagers for a long time. The four people walked up the road and it wasn’t long until they saw a clear spring. The sound of flowing spring water entered their ears and was especially clear in the middle of the night.

To the surprise of the four people, there was a mountain temple directly opposite the spring. Under the moonlight, the cold temple in this wild countryside was a bit strange.

Xiao Lou walked up to the temple and looked at the closed door.

There were some charms written on the door. He couldn’t help saying, “Isn’t this temple a bit weird? What do these charms mean?”

He couldn’t tell exactly what was wrong. It was just that standing in front of the temple, there was a chilly wind blowing and something eerie went down his back.

Xiao Lou looked carefully and suddenly said, “Don’t you feel that the pattern of these charms are a bit like… eyes?”

All three heard this and turned to look.

The papers rustling in the wind had a yellow background with many strange lines drawn in red. Ignoring the messy lines, there was a pattern in the middle with an elliptical shape and a drop of blood in the middle. Wasn’t this the shape of an eye?

Eyes? The entire village was blind. Did their blindness have anything to do with the drawing of the eyes?

Yu Hanjiang never believed in ghosts. He frowned and spoke decisively, “Go and see.”

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