Thunder roared and the entire castle shook.
The dim candlelight caused a mottled yellow light to appear on the wall. After the black tower announced the rules of the game, the 17 players stood around the long table and no one spoke. After a long time, a white woman said, “There are only 12 chairs but we have 17 people.”
Yes, there were 17 small dolls in the centre of the table. The black tower also said that there were 16 players and a black tower monster in the castle. However, there were only 12 chairs.
Andrei opened his mouth. “There are names on the chair. The black tower has divided us into groups.”
Everyone immediately went up to look at the chairs.
Under the dim lights of the candle, they could see distorted names carved on the backs of the quaint chairs. Everyone’s name was in English. The black tower was humane enough to help players hide their identities. Tang Mo looked around and his eyes narrowed when he saw the name on the last chair.
The only black woman present sneered. “Is there any need to use English names? It will be exposed anyway since you know each other.”
Among these 12 chairs, there were four that weren’t engraved with the name of just one person. There were three chairs engraved with the names of two people and one chair had three English names.
Fu Wenduo, Tang Mo… and Bai Ruoyao.
The baby-faced youth blinked with surprise. “Wow Tang Tang, Major Fu, I’m actually in a team with you.”
Tang Mo’s heart sank as he looked at the chair next to him. It had ‘Mu Huixue’ and ‘Andrei’ written on it. Another chair belonged to two foreign men and the last chair belonged to a foreign man and woman.
The black tower had obviously decided that the nine people knew each other and the information was disclosed to all players.
In fact, it was well understood that there were 17 players in the game. The seventh rule of the game stated that in the last minute of every day, they could use the right to vote for a target considered to be a monster. The target of the vote was restricted and all abilities and items wouldn’t be available.
There were 17 players and everyone had equal voting rights, but Tang Mo, Mu Huixue and the others knew each other. Once they worked together, they would vote for a certain player and win the majority vote, making it unfair to other players. The black tower took these measures and directly teamed them up to forcefully reduce the number of votes.
The other players stared at the owners of the four chairs. The nine of them looked calm and not embarrassed at all about their relationship being exposed.
There was another roar of thunder and the candles in the castle started shaking. The candlelight cast shadows on the building and Tang Mo suddenly became alert due to the strange sound of a gear turning. Every player grabbed their weapons and looked around.
They saw that in the middle of the long table, one of the 17 dolls seemed to have its gears activated as it moved forward on the table. The players stared coldly as the little puppet swayed and moved before saying in a strange and ethereal voice, “Stephen Teslav looked at me and pulled out his dagger.”
The words finished and the puppet suddenly pointed to a blond foreigner. The foreigner’s expression changed and he put away his dagger.
There was another loud sound and the group looked behind the small puppet. They saw a second small puppet move forward before stopping in front of a black woman. “Lena Jokel looked at me and wanted to kill me.”
At this time, how could any player not understand what was happening?
One after another, the small puppets moved in front of each player and shouted their names. It was impossible to disguise their name or exchange names with their teammates. The puppets spoke the name and almost exposed the nationality of some people.
However, being from the same region didn’t mean they knew each other. Tang Mo was surprised to see a small puppet run towards a foreign woman and shouted, “Xia Li.”
She was a Chinese player?
The short-haired, blonde woman who had her named called looked coldly over Tang Mo’s group.
Once all the puppets were in place, they were silent for a moment before singing a song.
“17 small puppets encountered a flood. There was no way to save one and only 16 were left.”
“16 small puppets, everyone was on guard against each other. The fire burned one to black charcoal, leaving 15.”
“One small puppet, its soul was frightened after seven days. No one cares about it being scared to death and there are no puppets left.”
“La la la, la la La…”
“Hey, Noah is coming! Noah is here!”
“Noah eats the small puppets. The small puppets are dead.”
The weird song came to a halt and the small puppet in front of Tang Mo suddenly opened its mouth. “Noah’s dinner table has only 12 guests.”
Fu Wenduo’s little puppet said, “There is a white ticket in front of the chair. Sit on the chair to write a name.”
Lian Yuzheng’s small puppet continued, “Every guest can vote once a day, no more.”
The old foreigner’s puppet was next. “12 chairs, 12 votes, no one is allowed more.”
“The result of the vote should be kept secret. No one can know it.”
“Hey, there is a red ticket. What is that?”
The group immediately looked at the table. After the puppets spoke in turn, 12 white tickets appeared on the table and then 12 red tickets.
Ander’s little puppet said, “I know, I know. It is to grab the sixth, grab the sixth.”
“White tickets are endless but there is only one red ticket.”
“There is only one red ticket per person, only one.
“The white ticket can be used to vote every day, the red ticket can only be used to vote once. Who do you think is the bad monster?”
The voice of the 11th puppet suddenly became sharp. “Write their name, write their name! Write their name and you will win, you will win!”
“What if you’re wrong? What if you’re wrong?”
The 13th puppet laughed strangely.
The 14th puppet spoke in an innocent voice, “The one who writes the wrong name won’t grab the six and won’t receive a clue.”
The 15th little puppet ran two laps around the red and white tickets.
The 16th puppet said, “Write their names and note your teammates.”
The 17th puppet sang excitedly, “Grab the six, grab the sixth!”
The final ‘grab the sixth’ was sharp and harsh, like nails scratching on glass and causing the players to frown. After saying all of this, the puppets stopped talking. They were like soldiers as they turned around and marched back to the centre of the long table. Then they stared at each other with strange wooden eyes.
On the other side, there was a bang and the huge clock on the castle’s wall shook. Its second hand ran at a speed six times the normal speed and one minute only took 10 seconds.
Sunlight entered through the window. Andrei, who had been standing by the window, looked out and said, “There is no sun but it obviously daytime right now.”
The 17 people looked at each other in turn before someone sat down. One by one, the players sat in their chairs. Players who were divided to the same chair chose on person to sit down.
Andrei let Mu Huixue sit while Bai Ruoyao looked at the chair and grinned. A moment passed before Tang Mo said, “You sit.”
Bai Ruoyao turned to look at him. “Tang Tang, did I hear wrong? You are letting me sit?”
Tang Mo nodded. “You sit.”
The players sitting on the chair had the right to vote. Bai Ruoyao never thought that he could grab the right to vote from Tang Mo and Fu Wenduo. Apart from revealing that these players knew each other, the black tower’s actions also lead to another thing: only one player sitting in the chair had the right to vote.
No matter how well the players discussed it before the vote, the only person who could vote was the one sitting in the chair. For example, Tang Mo, Fu Wenduo and Bai Ruoyao had a good discussion and decided to vote for Mu Huixue. Bai Ruoyao promised in advance but in the end, he betrayed them and voted for Tang Mo. Tang Mo and Fu Wenduo would have no way to stop him from doing this.
Bai Ruoyao originally thought he wouldn’t get the chance to vote and now he was being sent to the chair. Bai Ruoyao suddenly had a rebellious mind. “I won’t sit. Tang Tang, I feel sorry for you. You should sit.”
Fu Wenduo lowered his gaze. “Sit down.”
Bai Ruoyao, “…”
After considering his chances if he fought with these two people, Bai Ruoyao shrugged and sat down with a smile.
In any case, it was good that he could sit.
Once Bai Ruoyao took his seat, there was someone in all 12 chairs.
A middle-aged man looked at everyone and said, “The black tower said that the monster is disguised as us. I think that even if we ask things that only humans will know, the monster will certainly be able to answer it.
No one refuted his words.
The middle-aged man continued, “I want to say one thing first. The names of the 17 players here, almost all of them have been globally announced by the black tower. I know who you are. You also know who I am.”
Mocking laughter was heard. “We naturally know that your Russian region was forced to attack the tower.”
The middle-aged man’s expression sank and he slammed his hand against the table. The table shook and a deep handprint was branded into the table. The white male who ridiculed him didn’t look nervous at all. He looked at the handprint and said, “Brute force, is that why you were so slow to clear the fifth floor?”
“Okay, stop quarrelling. I don’t think anyone here has thought about working together.”
The group turned to look at the black woman and saw her sitting coldly in the chair. “Don’t speak nonsense. This is the first day and first night. It is obviously unrealistic if we want to catch the monster now. The grab the sixth mode means we won’t work together. Everyone is their own team and it isn’t realistic to attack the sixth floor together because no one knows who the monster is. There is just something I hope you can all do.”
Tang Mo asked, “What is it?”
The black woman stared at Tang Mo. “Anything that people say during the day, be sure to say it to everyone at this table.”
Some players frowned while most players had a ‘of course’ expression.
Bai Ruoyao gave a deep smile. “The monster must be among these 17 people. It is difficult to catch the monster but we can’t let others catch it first. In the evening, we are stuck in the room and can’t come out. During the day, if the 17 people act together then at least everyone’s words and deeds are transparent and no one will be finding clues in private. Wow, are you not confident in your strength? Do you feel that if we separate, other people will find clues that you can’t?”
The black woman’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean?”
Bai Ruoyao was ready to provoke her again but Fu Wenduo held down the back of the chair. “We agree with this proposal.”
Bai Ruoyao shut his mouth and didn’t talk anymore.
“I also agree.”
Out of the 17 people, 15 of them agreed.
Two people disagreed and the black woman asked them, “Are you disagreeing because one of you is the black tower monster?”
The two men glared at the black woman, saying his words were rubbish. Then they agreed.
Two hours quickly passed. During these two hours, everyone sat around the long table and watched the players. On the first day, everyone didn’t really speak and never exposed any secrets. In the silence, they remembered the information of the other people in the bottom of their hearts. They waited for the two hours to pass, until the last minute arrived.
“Ding dong! On the first day of voting, please write the name of a player they wanted to vote for on the white ticket.”
The old man opened his mouth for the first time. “I propose that everyone writes their own name. No one can find the monster on the first day and there is no meaning in writing someone else’s name.”
The rest of the players looked at the old man with a thoughtful expression. The old man looked indifferent and bowed his head to write a name. He seemed to really write his own name and then placed the white ticket upside down on the table.
Everyone started writing names.
Tang Mo looked down as Bai Ruoyao wrote a name on the piece of white paper.
This was the name of the old man.
After writing the names, everyone got off their chairs and went to the second floor.
Tang Mo and Fu Wenduo walked at the end of the crowd. As all 17 people went upstairs, Tang Mo looked back at the long table. He saw 12 white tickets turned over on the table, the candlelight swaying and the 17 puppets standing quietly in the middle of the room. Tang Mo suddenly saw a small puppet move and his heart tightened as he took a closer look.
There were no movements.
Night fell and the 12 groups of players each entered their own room.
Tang Mo, Fu Wenduo and Bai Ruoyao entered the door with their names. The inside contained three beds.
There was a note on the door stating: Please find your own bed.
Tang Mo went to his bed. It had the note: Please lie down, pull up the quilt and calmly sleep. He turned to look at Fu Wenduo and both of them nodded.
Bai Ruoyao’s exaggerated voice was heard as he complained, “How can there be three beds? Shouldn’t we sleep together?”
He said this but Bai Ruoyao was very honest in following the black tower’s requirements as he climbed into bed and pulled up the quilt.
Tang Mo entered the quilt and found that he wasn’t forced to fall asleep by the black tower. However, once they entered the room, there was dead silence around it. They couldn’t hear anything despite their enhanced senses, as if they were isolated from sound.
Tang Mo said, “The black tower told us that three players can leave the room every night and that players in the same room can’t discover it.” Tang Mo didn’t doubt the black tower’s game rules and he even guessed that the black tower wouldn’t allow players in the same room to communicate with players who were selected to go outside. He said, “Tonight, maybe someone among the three of us has the right to leave the room.”
Being qualified didn’t mean they had to leave. But…
“This is the only chance to get in contact with other players.” Fu Wenduo said.
Bai Ruoyao smiled. “It is also possible to get in contact with the monster.”
Tang Mo opened his mouth. “If any of us are qualified to go out, we will tell the other two people during the day. Let’s discuss countermeasures together.”
Tang Mo and Fu Wenduo were teammates and naturally wouldn’t hide things from the other person. He was talking to Bai Ruoyao.
Bai Ruoyao smiled like he didn’t hear it. “I will sing a song for you. I haven’t slept in a room with other people for a long time and didn’t expect to actually sleep with Major Fu and Tang Tang. I’m really lucky. Tang Tang, what would you like to hear?”
Tang Mo didn’t pay attention to him.
Bai Ruoyao added, “Major Fu, what do you like to listen to?”
The two people ignored him. Bai Ruoyao wasn’t angry and spoke to himself. “Then I will sing.”
An out of tune song started to fill the room.
Tang Mo turned his head with a blank expression and looked in Fu Wenduo’s direction. Fu Wenduo quietly watched him.
In the room, Bai Ruoyao’s harsh song continued while Tang Mo and Fu Wenduo stared at each other. A long time passed before Tang Mo’s quiet voice was heard. “Okay, stop singing. We are sure that you’re not a monster.” This unpleasant voice and attitude, if it wasn’t Bai Ruoyao then who could it be?
Bai Ruoyao’s song stopped and he made a wronged expression. “Tang Tang, what do you originally think of me?” He didn’t seem convinced and sang a second song. “I obviously just want to sing a lullaby for you.”
Tang Mo sneered.
At this point, Tang Mo had clearly identified the status of three people.
Himself, Fu Wenduo and Bai Ruoyao.
The three of them weren’t monsters in disguise.
Needless to say, he knew this person was Victor and not the monster as soon as he saw Fu Wenduo. He believed the same was true for Fu Wenduo.
Two hours passed quickly and it was a sleepless night.
The sunlight shone through the window and the three people pulled off the quilt at the fastest speed, getting out of bed. As Tang Mo opened the door, Mu Huixue and Andrei were just walking in front of it, obviously in a hurry.
Tang Mo’s heart sank and he also walked out the door. As he walked, he asked, “What happened?”
Mu Huixue stopped and glanced at him and Fu Wenduo, as well as the fast moving Bai Ruoyao at the end. She was ready to explain but she shut her mouth after a moment. She just raised her hand and pointed in front of her. Tang Mo followed the direction of her fingers and froze once he saw it.
He saw a black woman lying in a corner of the second floor corridor, her eyes opened and staring in front of her.
Her clothes were soaked, as if she had drowned. Her skin was pale and there was some white foam in her nose and mouth. Under her body, the wooden floor was dyed dark with water. The old man lived in the room closest to the stairs and was the first to discover the body. He bent down, checked the body before turning to look at the remaining 15 players.
Under his pale white hair, the old man calmly said, “She is dead from drowning.”
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