On Tuesday, the baptismal day after singing the songs, Bai Liu and Bai Liu (6) stood in the forest behind the church and planned Wednesday’s escape.
Bai Liu (6) touched the coin that Bai Liu gave him. Bai Liu crouched down and taught him how to use some of the functions of the coin. Then he suddenly said, “Oh yes, do you remember the little girl I asked you to protect, Liu Jiayi?”
“Her?” Bai Liu (6) frowned. “I think she is very strange. She seems very used to this strange welfare home and soon figured out a lot of rules. I don’t think she needs my protection at all.”
“Is that so?” Bai Liu thought about it. “She has only 50 points of health. I have two guesses about it.”
Bai Liu (6) looked at him. “What guess?”
“First, it is possible that the girl is poisoned. The information I have so far can verify this. However, there is a very strange point. This speculation doesn’t explain why Liu Huai is bound to her, nor why Liu Huai’s health was reduced to 50.”
Bai Liu continued while checking the coin panel he gave to Bai Liu (6). “Later, I thought about it and the situation of her being forcibly weakened is familiar to me. I have encountered it twice before but it is generally because some of the player’s attributes exceed the balance range of the game. The system will forcibly weaken the player in order to regulate and control all aspects of the game.”
Bai Liu (6) soon understood what Bai Liu meant. “Do you mean that Liu Jiayi’s attributes are so strong that the system must weaken her health?”
“It isn’t just weakening. It also bound Liu Huai to her to restrict her clearance.” Bai Liu spoke while calling out the system panel for Bai Liu (6). “The first time I played a game, I was forcibly weakened by the system at the end of the game but it was because I showed some actions that could destroy the balance of the game. This was beyond the conventional game line.”
“Meanwhile, Liu Jiayi was weakened and restricted the moment she entered the game. It isn’t like a newcomer playing the game for the first time.”
Bai Liu (6) hadn’t played the game but he always followed Bai Liu’s thoughts very quickly. “You mean, Liu Jiayi is probably an old player?”
Bai Liu touched his chin. “I do have such a guess. The place that will be weakened will be based on the strong attributes. For example, in my second game, a player’s luck value was strong enough to affect the game so his luck was decreased. This Liu Jiayi is likely to have a personal skill related to health, such as restoring health.”
Bai Liu (6) frowned. “Didn’t you say that few people have this skill?”
“Yes, so it further narrows down my suspicions.” Bai Liu was thoughtful. “Based on what I know so far, I think Liu Jiayi might be a player called Little Witch. However, I heard that this player doesn’t just have a healing skill, she also has a strong attack skill.”
Bai Liu (6) commented, “She sounds like a tricky player.”
“Even so, I want her soul.” Bai Liu looked down at Bai Liu (6). “I need a player of her type.”
“The trouble is that she already knows I can manipulate players using their souls. She won’t easily agree to a deal with me. I can only start from other places. The system used Liu Huai to restrict her and she is hiding her identity from Liu Huai. This proves that Liu Huai is very important to her.”
Bai Liu touched his fingers while thinking. “We can start by using Liu Huai to test her and see what she really wants.”
“I made a plan by integrating all types of information and from the perspective of maximizing profit.” Bai Liu nodded at the coin touching Bai Liu (6)’s chest. “You will escape with Mu Ke and Liu Jiayi but I don’t think she will let you succeed. Things will probably go wrong in the middle of your escape.”
“Still, it doesn’t matter. I have a fault tolerant plan. I will implement a surprise attack at the private hospital to delay you being taken to the hospital. This means you will have one more chance to run outside.”
“Then the plan will progress in one of two directions.” Bai Liu opened his eyes to look at Bai Liu (6). “The first is that I die in tomorrow’s attack.”
“If this is the case, you don’t have to worry about Liu Jiayi and run out directly. Just take Mu Ke with you. We will give up on gaining Liu Jiayi’s soul and will carry out the plan on the most important premise of clearing the game. You can steal a car from the hospital and use the Passenger’s Blessing item to run out with Mu Ke. This will allow you to avoid most monsters.”
Bai Liu (6) looked at Bai Liu with emotionless eyes. “What if the investor players from the hospital come to catch me?”
“I will have someone throw my body into the patient ward of other monsters. My blood will be sucked by these monsters and I will be attacked with poisonous mist until my mental value completely reaches 0. Then my corpse will be alienated into a patient monster like those monsters. At the same time, I will be a more aggressive monster. When you flee, I will try to stay aware and chase those players to buy time for you.” Bai Liu spoke in a flat voice.
Bai Liu (6) was quiet for a few seconds. Then he asked in a very puzzled manner. “In order to save me, you will be alienated into a monster for the rest of your life and stay in what you call a game instance. Why would you do this for me?”
“It is because I hope you can also do this for me, Bai Liu (6).” Bai Liu spoke softly. He leaned forward and stared into Bai Liu (6)’s perplexed eyes. “If I don’t die in this raid, I hope you will become a monster for me after death—in other words, the plan will go in a different direction.”
“I will take full control of Liu Huai. Meanwhile, I need you to go find Liu Jiayi and reduce her wariness of me. Make her believe that you and your investor, i.e. me, really want to save her. This way, I will more easily win her trust and her soul.” Bai Liu looked down at Bai Liu (6), his voice becoming lighter and lighter like a white silk cloth covering his face. “Do you know what to do?”
Bai Liu (6) stared straight at Bai Liu.
Bai Liu told him, “Let her kill you and then have Mu Ke throw your body where it can be alienated and turn into a monster to help me.”
Bai Liu (6)’s breathing paused for a few seconds before he sarcastically said, “Dear Mr Investor, you might be whimsical but not everyone is like you and will selflessly sacrifice for others. I won’t do something so stupid for you.”
Bai Liu smiled and touched Bai Liu (6)’s face. Bai Liu (6) coldly turned his head away but Bai Liu didn’t care much. “I know you very well Bai Liu (6), perhaps better than you know yourself. You really won’t do such a stupid thing for others.”
Bai Liu’s eyes stared at the coin on Bai Liu (6)’s chest. His hands rested on Bai Liu (6)’s thin shoulders as he slowly pressed his forehead against the coin. Bai Liu closed his eyes against Bai Liu (6)’s heart, his tone pious and serious. “However, you will do such a thing for yourself.”
Just as I’m willing to die for you, you will be willing to die for me once you know that I am you.
“The coin is very important. You can explore it well.” Bai Liu smiled. “Pay attention to the players’ names and other little things when receiving the system notifications. Then you will get a surprise. For example, my identity. It is something you’ve always wanted to know.”
Bai Liu (6)’s brow slowly furrowed as he held the coin.
Bai Liu (6) looked casually at Bai Liu with ‘blood’ staining the corner of his mouth. “Now it is completely in accordance with your plan and expectations. Liu Jiayi might think you are a scheming bad man but she believes that you really want to save her. You gave up protecting yourself for Mu Ke, me and even Miao Feichi in order to let Liu Jiayi feel that you have some special pity for the group of children. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.”
“You are a complete liar.” Bai Liu (6) commented without any emotion. “Her first understanding of you was completely correct.”
Bai Liu shrugged and accepted Bai Liu (6)’s assessment of him without any concern. “How is it? Are you okay? Can you follow us later?”
Bai Liu (6) coughed. He lowered his head to wipe at the corners of his mouth and he frowned slightly. “We can’t leave this tunnel during the day. Even at night, the areas where we can move are limited.”
“This tunnel will be closed after these deformed children monsters return to their nests and it won’t open until after 9 p.m. You had better leave here quickly. I also don’t recommend you take me with you.”
Bai Liu (6) slowly looked up. Death had spread in his pupils and he had an expression of indifferent calm. “Just now was the greatest value I could show. My internal organs have started to liquefy due to the intense consumption of this alienated body. By nighttime, I might become a real corpse or rot into a pool of mud used to grow these mushrooms.”
There were visible corpse spots on his face and hands as he spoke. They were spreading at a speed visible to the naked eye. Bai Liu (6) was rotting at an abnormal speed.
Little Mu Ke heard Bai Liu (6) saying this and he couldn’t help crying again. Mu Ke’s eyes also reddened as he looked away from the wretched Bai Liu (6) in distress.
Meanwhile, Bai Liu was like the dead Bai Liu (6). He was highly consistent with his 14 year old corpse and had an almost inorganic calmness.
After hearing Bai Liu (6)’s words, Bai Liu thought about it and nodded. “Yes, then it is really useless for you to come with us. You can stay here and rot.”
Little Mu Ke had tears in his eyes. Once he heard this, he turned to Bai Liu. His tone and expression were distorted as he questioned Bai Liu in an incredulous tone, “You will just let him rot here? Are you a beast?”
Bai Liu (6) snorted in amusement at this question from little Mu Ke. Liquid flowed from the corner of his mouth as he struggled to lift his gradually heavy eyelids. His lips curved as he smiled, “Mr Investor, I personally like your beast appearance. It is a growth mode in line with my expectations. Please keep it up.”
“I am just a beast in the game.” Bai Liu also smiled lazily along with Bai Liu (6). “If I’m not playing the game, I’m just an ordinary laid-off worker who abides by the law.”
Bai Liu (6) didn’t look at him. “It is a disgusting disguise.”
Bai Liu suddenly leaned forward to hug Bai Liu (6). His chin rested on Bai Liu (6)’s forehead while his lips rested on Bai Liu (6)’s messy hair stained with blood and dirt. He whispered so that only they could hear it. “You will rot here.”
“But even if you become a corpse, a monster or a pool of mud, you will never be trapped in this disgusting welfare home or trapped by this disgusting game.”
Bai Liu (6) tilted his head and looked into the eyes of Bai Liu holding him. There was a faint, hypocritical smile on Bai Liu’s face and his dark, wave-less eyes reflected Bai Liu (6) who was gradually weakening.
Bai Liu lowered his eyes and dropped a kiss on Bai Liu (6)’s forehead as if praying for him. “It is because I will take your soul away, little friend.”
Bai Liu (6) closed his eyes.
As little Mu Ke left the tunnel, he kept looking back at Bai Liu (6) in the tunnel. His eyes were red from crying and his voice was still filled with sobs. “Are we really going to leave Bai Liu (6) there?”
Bai Liu casually replied to little Mu Ke while dragging out Liu Huai. “He can’t come out. Besides, the tunnel is closing.”
Once Bai Liu got everyone out, he looked back and saw little Mu Ke staring at him in a hostile manner like a cat that was going to rush over to claw at his head. “You could’ve saved him.”
“However, he agreed to die for me.” Bai Liu gave a fake smile. He shrugged and spoke words that stopped little Mu Ke, who wanted to hit him. “Do you want to attack the investor that Bai Liu (6) tried so hard to protect?”
Little Mu Ke felt like a sword pierced his heart at Bai Liu’s words. He stared at Bai Liu and finally had to tearfully compromise.
They were currently under the statue of the god. Bai Liu looked at the dying Liu Huai who had been transported by them and glanced at Liu Huai’s soul banknote in his soul wallet. This was traded to him by Liu Huai just after Bai Liu got the coin back.
Liu Huai’s consciousness might not be clear but he still remembered his agreement with Bai Liu. Thus, the deal with Liu Huai was successfully concluded.
Bai Liu could feel that Liu Huai was willing to give his soul not just due to the previous promise with Bai Liu. It was because Liu Huai, a university student with a strong desire for survival, actually wanted to die after learning the truth about Liu Jiayi.
Bai Liu looked down into Liu Huai’s dead and dull eyes. The man hadn’t spoken much on the way.
Previously, Liu Huai had been so afraid to let himself die in the game because it was said that the game would reclaim people’s souls. This was indeed a terrifying thing to hear. Not knowing what the game would do with his soul was more frightening than death itself.
Thus, Liu Huai hoped to sell his soul to Bai Liu. This protective deposit and relief would at least let him die at peace. However, even if Liu Huai really wanted to die, it couldn’t be now.
Bai Liu looked at little Mu Ke. “Do you know where Liu Jiayi is?”
“She was in the second to last handicrafts classroom on the first floor of the building behind the welfare home.”
Bai Liu helped support Liu Huai.
Liu Huai’s movements were a bit out of balance after losing his arms. His head fell on Bai Liu’s shoulder and his eyes half closed in a weak manner. His breathing was also very rapid. Bai Liu patted Liu Huai’s shoulder. Liu Huai slowly raised his head and looked around in a confused manner. “…Have we arrived at the welfare home?”
Bai Liu looked at him. “We have arrived. Wake up. Liu Huai, we are going to see your sister. You will feel better soon.”
“Will I be okay if I see her?” Liu Huai seemed to finally wake up a bit. He shook his head weakly and smiled bitterly. “No, I will only feel more pain when I see her. I have completely lost my skill and my desire to protect her. I can’t protect her. I’m an incompetent brother.”
“Players who lose their desire can’t survive in this game.”
Mu Ke looked a bit anxiously at Liu Huai who was gradually losing his vitality. Since he had felt Liu Huai’s fierce desire to survive, he couldn’t help encouraging Liu Huai despite being able to get a skill from Liu Huai’s death. “Don’t give up so early! We will do everything we can to keep you alive! Isn’t your sister a healing type of player? She will save you!”
Liu Huai lowered his head and looked at the daggers hanging from his waist. They were slowly becoming translucent due to his desire fading. He burst out laughing while tears fell from his eyes.
“I… in fact, I have been working hard and living desperately. There are many things in the world that are simple and easy things for you, such as eating fried chicken, going to a good university and having a normal and enjoyable future. For Jiayi and I, the only thing we can enjoy about the future is each other. The brightest thing is the existence of the other person.”
“Now this existence has become meaningless. Living has become… it is too hard.” Liu Huai’s tears flowed down his nose and along the jaw of his clenched teeth. He looked at Bai Liu and cried bitterly. “Bai Liu, if you were Jiayi’s brother, you could easily understand what she is thinking and how to better protect her. You can weigh her resentment and doubts but I can’t… I am too cowardly to protect her.”
Liu Huai spoke softly. “You promised me Bai Liu. If I die, you will surely bring her a bright future. Don’t let her soul be eroded by darkness and don’t let her soul be taken away by this game, even in death.”
Bai Liu looked at the tearful Liu Huai. “Yes.”
Bai Liu shrugged his shoulders up and better supported Liu Huai leaning against him. He looked forward and spoke quietly, “Nevertheless, that is for after you die. Right now, you have sold your soul to me. I have to make you worthy of the price before you die.”
“I bought you with a whole point.” Bai Liu declared lightly.
Liu Huai’s head was hanging low from exhaustion but he couldn’t help laughing after hearing Bai Liu’s words.
Liu Huai’s gaze changed from nothingness to become solid again. The dagger at his waist slowly changed from translucent to solid and he let out a small sigh. “Okay, I will make this point worth spending for you as the buyer.”