Bai Liu glanced at Lu Yizhan. “First talk about the specific situation yesterday night.”
Lu Yizhan closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, sucked in the smoke and blew it out. “At 3 a.m. in the early hours of the morning, there were 37 children who experienced serious vomiting…”
“These children vomited out whole mushrooms but when they were admitted to the hospital the day before yesterday, all these children had been induced to vomit and received gastric lavage. Yesterday, they fasted the whole day and received transfusions. None of them had anything to eat. There was no way they could have anything in their stomachs.”
Lu Yizhan paused here and shook his ash into the trash can in the corridor. “This incident scared the nurses and doctors. They immediately called the police and prepared to conduct blood tests on all the children…”
Lu Yizhan slowly let out a puff of white air mixed with smoke. “However, apart from the child who survived, the nurses pierced a needle into the blood vessels and could only draw out a light green translucent liquid from the bodies of the vomiting children. They couldn’t extract blood at all. The result of the test on the liquid showed it was mushroom juice.”
Bai Liu wasn’t scared. Things like the antique mirror that could hide huge bombs and escape the security check were loaded into this reality by the horror game. In the horror game, it was possible for anything strange to happen. Bai Liu thought it was a normal trend of games to extract mushroom juice.
Bai Liu thought for a moment before asking, “What about the living child? Her blood is normal right? Did her blood test result come out?”
“It’s out. She is a bit anemic but it is generally normal.”
Bai Liu pondered on it. “Then have you found any key information to solve the case from this child?”
“No.” Lu Yizhan sighed with a bitter smile. “This girl is blind. She doesn’t know our voices and refuses to communicate with us. She only nods or shakes her head occasionally to respond to us. Moreover, she can’t see and probably doesn’t know anything. Due to her eyes, she didn’t even know that what she ate that day were mushrooms.”
“The little girl is called Liu Jiayi and she has a half brother called Liu Huai. She won’t speak until her brother arrives.” Lu Yizhan sighed. “The main thing is that the little girl doesn’t want to talk. Otherwise, I would’ve taken you in to have a chat with her. You are great at deceiving children.”
Bai Liu showed a slight pause before he slowly looked up at Lu Yizhan. “What did you say was her brother’s name?”
Lu Yizhan was taken aback. “It is Liu Huai. He is a student of a famous university and has been working to raise this little girl. Then half a year ago, he suddenly fostered the little girl at the welfare home where the accident happened. He will come to see Liu Jiayi once a week but he doesn’t have the obligation to support his sister who comes from the same father and a different mother. Do you know her brother?”
“We’ve had a passing acquaintance.” Bai Liu smiled. “He played online games with me. He should still remember me. Maybe he will let me talk to his sister.”
Liu Huai sat stiffly in the ward. The hospital bed had a thin girl curled up into a ball holding her knees. This little girl was Liu Jiayi. However, this wasn’t the main reason for Liu Huai’s stiffness. The thing making him stiff was Bai Liu sitting in front of him with a kind smile.
Liu Huai didn’t understand why he could meet this demon king, Bai Liu, outside of the game. The moment he arrived, Bai Liu placed an arm around his shoulder in a familiar manner and said he wanted to talk to Liu Jiayi. Liu Huai bemoaned his bad luck in his heart but still brought Bai Liu in.
Liu Jiayi couldn’t accept the environment of too many people. It made her scream so Liu Huai refused to let anymore people enter the ward. The police guarded the door and didn’t come in. They first had Liu Huai try to persuade Liu Jiayi. Then Liu Huai brought Bai Liu in under the name of his friend.
So at present, the only people in the ward were Liu Huai, Bai Liu and Liu Jiayi.
Bai Liu and Liu Huai sat on the right and left sides of Liu Jiayi’s room respectively. Liu Jiayi was sitting in the middle of the hospital bed, her arms around her knees. Her face was buried in the gap created by her hands and knees. She wore a hospital gown that was a bit too wide for her and it hung from her skinny and weak skeleton.
This little girl was just like Lu Yizhan said. She was skinny and a bit deformed. It was like her skeletal frame hadn’t developed well. She was different from the contemporary children who were over-nourished due to fast food restaurants.
Liu Huai couldn’t stand this heavy atmosphere. He blocked Bai Liu’s sight of Liu Jiayi with a quilt and stood in front of Liu Jiayi. Liu Huai stared at Bai Liu vigilantly like a beast protecting his cub. “Bai Liu, what do you want from me?”
Bai Liu had always been straightforward. “I didn’t come here for you. I’m here to find your sister.”
“My sister?” Liu Huai wrapped the quilt tighter around Liu Jiayi and held her in his arms as he gazed at Bai Liu with hostility. “Why are you looking for her?”
“Liu Huai, how old is the youngest player you have ever seen in the game?” Bai Liu suddenly changed the subject.
There might be surveillance of the ward that was being watched by the police but the shielding mechanism meant that bai Liu’s words were likely to be changed. He spoke this sentence without hesitation.
“Why are you asking this?” Liu Huai wondered.
Bai Liu raised his eyes and looked directly at Liu Jiayi who was trembling in Liu Huai’s arms. “I wonder if your sister will become the youngest player in the game.”
Liu Jiayi was the only child to survive the mushroom poisoning incident of the welfare home, just like Bai Liu survived the Mirror City Bombing. Mu Ke luckily survived the haunted dormitory of the Japanese school. There were certain similarities.
Currently, Bai Liu knew two conditions to become a player. The first one was ‘there must be a player around you.’ The game’s mode of transmission was similar to a virus. It spread by mode of mutual influence such as human-to-human transmission. For example, Mu Ke affected Bai Liu and Li Gou affected Xiang Chunhua and Liu Fu. Liu Jiayi was next to Liu Huai and she met this condition.
The second condition that Bai Liu thought players should meet was that they had experienced at least one copy of the official version of a horror game in reality and successfully survived. Liu Jiayi obviously met these two conditions.
Bai Liu speculated that the little girl who survived was likely to become a reserve player selected by the game.
Liu Huai froze completely. He slowly looked away from Bai Liu toward Liu Jiayi who was still slightly trembling in his arms with an incredulous expression. Finally, he trembled uncontrollably and gazed at Bai Liu with astonishment. “She is only eight years old… how could she be a player? I also specifically controlled myself and only saw her once a week. This frequency at which I affect her is impossible to influence her to enter the game…”
“Why is it impossible?” Bai Liu asked calmly. “Does the system prohibit minors from playing games like parents?”
The parent Liu Huai was choked up and instinctively squeezed Liu Jiayi in his arms with a flustered expression. “She can’t see at all! If she enters the game then she won’t be able to survive at all in the harsh living environment! It isn’t rational for the system to choose her!”
“So how did she survive this terrible poisonous mushroom incident?” Bai Liu’s attitude was very calm. She was the only child to survive a real-world horror game instance. Even if she couldn’t see, Bai Liu didn’t think Liu Jiayi was a simple child.
Liu Huai was blocked by Bai Liu and had nothing to say. He could only forcefully refute Bai Liu. “Jia Jia can survive the poisonous mushroom incident because of good luck! However, she isn’t Du Sanying. She can’t gamble her life on her luck.”
Just then, Liu Jiayi opened her mouth, her voice very weak. “Brother, no.”
Her thin hand gently pulled Liu Huai’s coat. Then she protruded her head out of the quilt covering her. The eyeballs of both eyes were covered with a gray-like haze and her voice was small but clear. “Brother, I didn’t survive because of good luck. It is because I secretly dumped the meal that the teacher gave me.”
Liu Huai was stunned. “Why did you dump the meal that the teacher gave you?”
Liu Jiayi pursed her pale, dry lips. “Brother, don’t blame me for throwing away food. I thought that the teacher wasn’t quite right that day. She tried to take the initiative to feed me. Previously, she always gave the bowl to me and let me eat it myself. Then I took advantage of when she was serving other children and pretended to eat.”
Bai Liu smiled. “It seems that your sister is much smarter than you.”
“It doesn’t matter how smart she is. I won’t let her enter the game!” Liu Huai was completely irritable as he stared at Bai Liu with red eyes. “Bai Liu, no matter what you want to do, my sister can’t do it!”
Liu Jiayi was held so tightly by Liu Huai and hugged his neck with a bit of confusion. “Brother, what are you talking about? What am I going to enter?”
Liu Jiayi was obviously ‘shielded’ from the conversation between Bai Liu and Liu Huai. Liu Jiayi hadn’t entered the game yet and couldn’t know the specific content related to the game.
“Liu Huai, I just want to work with you.” Bai Liu’s voice was flat. “If Liu Jiayi is really selected by the game then you will have no way to prevent her from entering it.”
“Meanwhile, I have a way to help you and help Liu Jiayi.” Bai Liu raised his eyes to look at Liu Huai.
Liu Huai sneered. “You are talking about controlling us, right? Bai Liu, you are essentially the same as Puppet Zhang. I am grateful that you helped me but I won’t let my sister fall into your hands!”
“I don’t know what use she has to you that made you come here but get lost!” Liu Huai was like a fierce beast that only protected his cub. He stared at Bai Liu and roared, his back arched like he was going to rush forward and strangle Bai Liu in the next second.
Bai Liu was quiet for a few seconds before standing up. He didn’t make any excuses. He really did want to save Liu Jiayi but it was only because Bai Liu saw that Lu Yizhan wanted to adopt the little girl.
If Lu Yizhan chose this little girl to be his adopted daughter, Bai Liu would try to save her life. Lu Yizhan wanted to help Liu Jiayi very much. Bai Liu knew that Lu Yizhan was a person who always liked to meddle in things. It was like in the welfare home where Lu Yizhan would secretly give things to Bai Liu who wasn’t fed, even though Bai Liu didn’t feel hungry.
Bai Liu had never understood Lu Yizhan’s logic for helping people but as a beneficiary of Lu Yizhan’s logic, Bai Liu mostly indulged this person’s self-righteous choices. After all, Lu Yizhan would pay him. Bai Liu didn’t do things for nothing and Lu Yizhan understood his logic very well.
This was the reason why Bai Liu and Lu Yizhan could be friends.