The day of the May Rose Festival.
The open-air square of the Rose Factory was dressed up and decorated with thorny rose vines and dried flowers. None of the employees who came and went had roses in their eyes. They joyfully carried the unwanted perfume making equipment and threw it out.
Bai Liu sat beside the withered flower field with a pale face. He hadn’t recovered from the previous sacrifice ceremony that had sucked a lot of his blood.
Liu Jiayi and Tang Erda stood behind Bai Liu to the left and the right.
“I didn’t realize you were so self-sacrificing that you would do that.” Liu Jiayi bent down and sat next to Bai Liu. Her feet dangled as she sighed. “You grew so many blood ganoderma lucidum and then came up with the idea of making the blood ganoderma lucidum into a perfume spray, which can save many more people.”
“However, not all of them.” Tang Erda interrupted Liu Jiayi’s words.
Liu Jiayi rolled her eyes and was about to reply when Bai Liu opened his mouth. He was smiling but his gaze was far away. “I have given them the method. They chose the poison themselves so there is always a price to pay if they want to take the path of the antidote.”
“Are you going to let them grow the blood ganoderma lucidum themselves?” Tang Erda quickly understood Bai Liu’s unspoken meaning. He crouched down and frowned as he retorted, “The growing method of the blood ganoderma lucidum is too dangerous. It requires the blood of special children…”
“This would indeed be the case if there weren’t the dry leaf roses.” Bai Liu bent one leg halfway up and lazily rested his chin on his knee. “However, the dry leaf roses and the blood ganoderma lucidum are associated plants. The people who have been contaminated by the dry leaf roses have miraculous blood that is suitable for the blood ganoderma lucidum.”
Tang Erda asked again, “How do you know this?”
Bai Liu squinted comfortably at the wind blowing from the flower field. “Didn’t you notice that when the blood ganoderma lucidum was growing, it even absorbed the rose liquid? Then it grew in an extraordinarily lush manner.”
“The hint of the game is already obvious.” Bai Liu turned back and raised his chin to look up at Tang Erda. “Just like Tawil, the poison grows out of the desires of these people’s hearts while the antidote is hidden in their bodies.”
“It is just a matter of what choice they make.” Bai Liu turned around again and said indifferently, “Let’s see if they have the courage to choose the path of thorns piercing their hearts in order to save themselves.”
Bai Liu was helped up by Liu Jiayi and he patted off the mud and grass on his pants.
“For better or for worse, people always have to pay the price for their choices.” Bai Liu turned toward the stunned Tang Erda and smiled. “It is just that they never had a choice. I am just giving them one more choice. In essence, how the world develops isn’t something you or I can decide.”
Bai Liu looked behind Tang Erda toward those who were rushing at him with joy. “It is decided by those who will make the choices besides you and me.”
“Mr Bai, we have finished the display stand for the May Rose Festival!”
“—!! Slow down Mr Bai! Your injuries haven’t fully recovered yet!”
These people had witnessed the tragic scene of Bai Liu bleeding to save them and they now eagerly held Bai Liu at the tip of their hearts. They would make a fuss when Bai Liu walked by himself and respectfully walked one position behind Bai Liu, carefully guarding him.
“The May Rose Festival will be held as you ordered. We destroyed all the perfumes in the Rose Factory and left only the premium perfumes to be auctioned off at the Rose Festival.”
“The people who come to the Rose Festival are all the top, rich people who have made their fortunes from certain links in the production chain of the dry leaf roses. They vigorously promoted the rose perfume around the world. Every year, they will come to buy one or two bottles of premium perfumes for themselves to enjoy…”
“Now they are all waiting in the open-air square for you.”
This was another point that Tang Erda couldn’t understand about Bai Liu’s plan. He stepped forward to Bai Liu’s side. “You have destroyed most of the roses and the perfumes. Why do you want to leave these special perfumes behind?”
Bai Liu tidied up his shirt and smiled vaguely at Tang Erda, his tone relaxed. “It is only fair to give everyone the same choice.”
The person in front led Bai Liu from the inside of the factory to the square in the back. He opened the door and revealed the small steps that would help Bai Liu to the stage. He bowed his head with excitement and honor as he pulled open the curtain for Bai Liu.
“Sir, they are waiting for you in front.”
Bai Liu didn’t hesitate. He walked up the steps, the sun shining on his face that was almost transparent due to excessive blood loss.
There was a small wooden speech platform tailored for him in front of him. The microphone was standing upright while below him were a group of richly dressed dignitaries who were impatient.
Bai Liu smiled as he lowered his eyes and approached the microphone. His hoarse voice spread through the loudspeakers in the open-air square.
“You have been waiting, distinguished guests.”
“I am the new agent of the Rose Factory, Bai Liu.”
After a brief self-introduction, Bai Liu waved his hand to the left and politely indicated to a pile of blood ganoderma lucidum that had been cut into 1-2 centimeters in length on a wooden board. He introduced it in an orderly manner.
“To your left is a new product we have just developed. It can be called a by-product of the rose perfume. The fresh branches have been cut off and dried and the thorns on it still retain a strong vitality.”
Bai Liu raised his eyes and looked at the people below. “I believe that everyone must be very curious about why I am introducing thorns like this. I will tell you its value. This small thorn can relieve the addictive effect of the rose perfume on the human body.”
There was a commotion. Then after a brief discussion, a person sitting in the front row raised his hand and said sternly, “Agent, I am willing to pay for the patent of these thorns. You can’t promote it on a large scale!”
“Yes yes! If this thing is widely promoted, the perfumes won’t be able to be sold…”
“I just controlled a high-ranking official with the perfume and could be promoted with it…”
“You don’t have to worry so much.” Bai Liu smiled and interrupted the discussion. “In order to use these thorns, the side effects are very strong. It needs to be swallowed and then you have to endure the pain of the thorn growing in your body, sucking your blood and making you feel weak. Then finally, you will be able to get the mature antidote.”
“It is because the thorn has the requirement of pure blood, just like an organ transplant. Only your own blood can be used to grow the medicine that will detoxify you.”
“Therefore, everyone who comes to buy the thorn detoxification must be prepared to live in pain.”
The people below fell silent.
Liu Jiayi stood behind the curtain and lifted a small piece of cloth to look at Bai Liu on the stage. She couldn’t help saying, “Bai Liu, this guy, is really lacking in morality.”
She was scolding Bai Liu but Liu Jiayi’s face clearly showed the smile of watching a good show. “Obviously, it is the blood ganoderma lucidum used by investors to exploit children. Now this guy relies on the purity of blood to transform it into the self-torture of these investors.”
“Bai Liu actually thought of planting and growing the thorns in the human body.” Liu Jiayi continuously sighed. “He is a genius at torture.”
“What is he going to do?” Tang Erda couldn’t understand it even more.
Liu Jiayi raised her eyebrow and glanced at this big fool. “Haven’t you seen it yet?”
Tang Erda frowned and thought about it. “…What should I see?”
Liu Jiayi put her eyes close to the gap in the curtain while there was a wicked smile on her face that couldn’t be hidden. “He is transferring the choice that the person behind the scenes asked him to make to other people.”
“He is letting those people make their own choices.”
This time, Bai Liu waved his hand to the right.
The display table on the right contained the special perfumes neatly stacked up like hills. The beautiful, diamond-shaped perfume glass bottles shone in the sun and the light pink liquid inside was as beautiful as a dream.
“Of course, we have prepared the special perfumes to be auctioned off to the guests according to the usual practice. This time, the perfume was personally prepared by me and it is a special perfume with a very high concentration.”
Bai Liu pointed to the left and right at the same time and asked with a smile, “Antidote or poison, which one do you choose to buy?”
One after another, the frenzied auction started.
Some people swallowed the thorns and others breathed in the perfume. They quickly turned into strange objects on the ground, thorns piercing their hearts and spines, or the roses painfully burned away at their sanity.
Some people started to uncontrollably turn into monsters.
The moment a person who turned into a monster roared and rushed toward Bai Liu on the stage, a bullet was shot between the monster’s eyebrows. Bai Liu slowly opened his eyes as he moved away from the beautiful scenery of the human struggles on the ground. He looked at Tang Erda, who was standing at the entrance of the factory, breathing heavily while holding a gun.
Killing a monster couldn’t make Tang Erda gasp like this. The thing that really irritated him was the people on the ground who were rolling around due to the pain of the thorns growing or because they were addicted to the perfume.
10 minutes ago, these people were a bunch of well-dressed, dust-free symbols at the top of the world. 10 minutes later, they were so undignified in front of Bai Liu.
In addition, Bai Liu didn’t even force them to do anything.
Tang Erda stared blankly at Bai Liu on the stage and opened his mouth. He wanted to say, ‘You could’ve saved them. If it was a punishment, you could’ve simply killed them.’
‘Why are you torturing them?’
Bai Liu seemed to understand his gaze and smiled subtly. “This isn’t torture. They understood the consequences of their choice. I told them to be careful of the roses, whether it is the thorns or the flowers.”
“I just let them choose and they paid the price for their choice. It is the deal that you wanted.”
Bai Liu stepped down from the stage and slowly walked over to Tang Erda with the bloody and messy backdrop. He looked up at Tang Erda with no roses or light in his dark eyes.
“—It is just like someone did to me and to Tawil.”
Bai Liu casually patted Tang Erda and walked out of the open-air square without turning his head.
Tang Erda stood silently. Then without saying a word, he raised his gun to clean up the monsters Bai Liu had created.
Or rather, it was the monsters who chose to become monsters themselves.
After experiencing such a bloody scene, Bai Liu actually started to walk next to the flower field that Tang Erda was facing. He seemed to like this withered flower field.
Liu Jiayi followed after him and talked to him. It wasn’t know what she was saying but Bai Liu would smile from time to time.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Tang Erda’s eyes were full of the remains of the monsters, he wouldn’t be able to see that Bai Liu and Liu Jiayi passed through here—this scene was too warm.
Tang Erda watched it for a moment. He didn’t pay attention and let a monster slip out from behind him to run toward Bai Liu. He quickly ran after it and shot the monster.
Bai Liu glanced up casually at Tang Erda. “Is the clean-up finished?”
“It is over.” Tang Erda squeezed the gun in his hand, exhaled and said thoughtlessly, “You didn’t have to do this.”
“Do you mean torturing people?” Bai Liu instantly understood what Tang Erda meant. He turned around to look at Tang Erda with interest and his eyes involuntarily gave Tang Erda the chills.
Bai Liu asked, “In fact, I have something I am curious about. It is also about torturing people. I saw in the mirror that I’m not the only one who likes torturing people. There is also the team member called the clown.”
“However, your hatred was mainly concentrated on me.” Bai Liu smiled. “It is the same excessive thing but you have inexplicable forgiveness for the clown. You don’t seem to hate him so much. Why?”
Tang Erda squeezed the gun in his hand and said hoarsely, “I don’t know why you think I have forgiven the clown. I hate him too.”
“It just isn’t the same as your hatred for me. Your hatred of the clown is the hatred of an accomplice while you hate me as the principal offender. The relationship between primary and secondary in your hatred is very clear.” Bai Liu touched his chin thoughtfully. “You aren’t an unjust person. There is something that makes you subconsciously feel that he doesn’t need to be punished so severely. This kind of thing is in line with the judicial process.”
“You think I am in the position of absolute control and induced him to sin.”
Tang Erda couldn’t help saying, “You induced everyone to commit crimes.”
“This clown—” Bai Liu stared directly at Tang Erda. “Does he have some type of special relationship with me?”
Tang Erda wanted to say that they hadn’t found anything. However, he was reminded by Bai Liu like this and he frowned as he started to think back. “…We had guesses.”
“It is because the clown has the strongest relationship of a follower with you. He only obeys you and is repulsed by the other members of the Wandering Circus.”
“Once… we tried to capture you.” Tang Erda seemed to be remembering something bad and had to take two deep breaths to calm down. “During the battle, he suddenly shot and injured Mu Sicheng. He threw Mu Sicheng to us and let us kill Mu Sicheng.”
“After some research and doing a psychological profile, we found that he had no group feeling with the rest of the Wandering Circus. In fact, he felt a strong hostility toward the people he had to share you with.” Tang Erda looked at Bai Liu. “He is your own clown.”
Bai Liu raised an eyebrow. “The formation of this overly loyal psychological relationship takes a long time to cultivate.”
“It is domestication!” Tang Erda seriously corrected Bai Liu’s wording.
Bai Liu kindly accepted Tang Erda’s correction. “It must have been a high-intensity domestication that began in his teenage years. I probably know why you have a filter toward him. How old was the clown?”
“We guessed that he should’ve been 14 years old when he first met you and you were 21 years old.”
“The next year, his father passed away. You came into contact with him in reality and helped him take over his father’s legacy—a huge smuggling chain that encompassed many things like firearms.”
“He worshiped you madly. He saw you as his god and called himself your only believer. He was the first member of your circus.”
Tang Erda raised his head. “The clown called you King most of the time, but there were occasions when he called you by other names. Our guess was that after his father died, you likely became his godfather.”
“I am 24 years old now…” Bai Liu murmured softly. “If this clown is still alive, he should—”
Tang Erda looked at Bai Liu with a very complicated expression. “The day before you entered this Rose Factory game was his 17th birthday. The Bai Liu (6) in other timelines would hold a very huge birthday party for him every year.”
“You doted on him.”
The No Man’s Land.
The small TVs kept turning off and leaving as the guild members carefully explored the No Man’s Land. They moved around the towering TV mountains, hands constantly charging, liking and bookmarking. They would be relieved when they saw a small TV turn off.
There were members running back and forth in different sections, broadcasting the news that the small TV that had just gone out didn’t belong to Bai Liu.
A large number of small TVs of unfamiliar players poured into the ordinary section. The ignorant viewers seemed to realize that something was happening. They looked at the forum, understood what was going on and rushed to the No Man’s Land to watch.
At the same time, some of the funded players from the No Man’s Land successfully passed the level and the flow of people at the exit gradually increased. It wasn’t known how long these players had been alone in the game. The moment they left the game, they started to lie on the ground and cry.
Most of these players were newcomers. They cried until they were exhausted before wandering around the exit in a daze.
They had been drained of their emotions and motivation by the game. They didn’t know what to do or where to go. They were just like the walking dead.
At this time, the people around them whispered in amazement and caught their attention.
“Did they really come out? How many people have been rescued?”
“Bai Liu’s actions are really becoming bigger every time…”
“Damn, I really don’t understand the game of rich people! Cleaning up the No Man’s Land just for Bai Liu is outrageous!”
These people seemed to realize they were the ones being talked about. A long time passed before a man with tears on his face came up to an old player. “Can I ask, did this comrade Bai Liu save us just now?”
“…It can’t be said that he saved you.” The old player’s expression was very complicated. “However, you definitely wouldn’t have been able to come out if it wasn’t for him.”
The man seemed to have found a backbone and his eyes lit up with amazement. “Then where can I find him?”
The man sighed. “The No Man’s Land where you came out of.”
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