At 9: 30 p.m. when Bai Liu thought he wouldn’t receive a call from little Bai Liu (6) tonight, his walkie-talkie rang.
Bai Liu picked it up. This version of the old walkie-talkie had a bad signal sound and there was the gasping of someone running at extreme speed. It felt like someone was running with this walkie-talkie and they were out of breath due to running so quickly.
Bai Liu didn’t make a sound until the gasping sound over there gradually calmed down and the other person said, “Wait, something is chasing me.”
The moment little Bai Liu (6) said this, Bai Liu’s system interface emerged.
[System tip: Congratulations to player Bai Liu’s secondary identity line for triggering the monster book.]
[The Love Welfare Institute Monster Book has refreshed—Deformed Child (1/3)]
[Monster Name: Deformed Child]
[Features: Faster movement speed (350-600)]
[Weaknesses: ??? (Unexplored)]
[Attack mode: Likes to play with the player’s secondary identity line. Playing with the player’s secondary identity line will make them disappear from the welfare home.]
After five minutes, there was the sound of clothes rubbing on the ground. Little Bai Liu (6) seemed to be hiding somewhere as he lowered his voice to speak. “Okay, it hasn’t caught up for the time being. You can speak.”
Little Bai Liu (6)’s voice was full of ups and downs but there were no obvious mood swings. He wasn’t afraid after being chased. Bai Liu asked, “What is chasing you?”
“A child.” Bai Liu (6)’s voice was still a bit uneven. “He squatted on the ground and chased me on all fours like a monkey. He is very thin and keeps drooling as he smiles. He looks very strange, like someone born with a congenital defect.”
Little Bai Liu (6) described it like this and Bai Liu understood. He had children with Down syndrome before when he stayed at the welfare home. Their appearance was very distinctive with a narrow and flat nose, a long mouth, fat and bulging cheeks, a short neck and wide-spaced eyes. In the welfare home, Bai Liu had seen some children nickname them as ‘frogs’ because they looked like frogs.
Such a frog-like child was on the ground on all four limbs, drooling while chasing little Bai Liu (6)… fortunately, Bai Liu (6)’s obsession with money made him call Bai Liu or else a normal child would’ve been scared and started crying a long time ago. Who would keep running without hanging up the phone?
“So is he gone?” Bai Liu asked.
“No.” The moment that Bai Liu (6) answered this question, Bai Liu heard the voice of a small child and the sound of clothes against the gravel of the ground as someone moved on all fours. It was very fast and created a hissing effect like a snake. The child chasing little Bai Liu (6) moved very quickly.
Little Bai Liu (6) was silent after answering this question. Bai Liu could only hear the sound of his rapid breathing and footsteps as he ran. There was the laughter of the child behind him and the friction of clothing rubbing on the ground. The sound was getting louder. It seemed that the contact area between the clothing and the ground had increased. The child chasing Bai Liu (6) must’ve lowered his body to chase and would soon catch up.
Bai Liu waited quietly, not disturbing little Bai Liu (6) who was being chased. Another five minutes passed before the out of breath Bai Liu (6) spoke. “It’s fine.”
“Did you avoid him?”
“No, he is chasing after other people.” Little Bai Liu (6) had no sympathy in his tone. “Some other children came out to make calls and were chased as soon as they came out. Now they are running and crying so the child stopped chasing me.”
Bai Liu understood. There should be only one deformed child chasing outside the welfare home. Now his aggro had been transferred to others and Bai Liu (6) was relatively safe.
Bai Liu inquired, “What is going on over there? What happened after you were brought in by the dean?”
“The process was normal after being brought in. The people in the welfare home assigned us rooms. I was assigned a room with three other newcomer boys. Meanwhile, the blind little girl lives in another building across from us. We are staying in rooms on the first floor.” Bai Liu (6)’s organization of things was very clear. He first briefly talked about the overall situation before mentioning what Bai Liu would care about.
Bai Liu (6) hadn’t caught his breath yet. “Our phones were confiscated. The teacher in the welfare home banned this communication tool. Then later, he said they would give us a period of adjustment. We are allowed to carry it for a week but he set a time when we are allowed to call, which is the same as what you said. It is also impossible for us to call in the room since it will disturb other people’s rest.”
“In addition, the teachers and carers I met all warned me not to follow the sound of the flute at night and to not go outside if I hear it. They said that the flute player will abduct children.” Little Bai Liu (6)’s tone was very calm. “As a result, at 9:30 p.m., I heard someone using the flute to play a messy nursery rhyme.”
“I didn’t want to go out but the flute player was too accurate. It happened to be just after 9 o’clock and you told me to call you and you would give me money for every minute of the call time. Thus, I came out.”
Don’t follow the sound of the flute. Bai Liu thought that there was also such a plot in the real world welfare home. The four children were said to have gone out after hearing the sound of the flute. Then they disappeared.
Bai Liu thought of a fairytale.
“Don’t follow the sound of the flute, the person playing the flute will abduct children. What do you think about when hearing this?” Bai Liu wondered.
Over there, little Bai Liu (6) was silent for a moment. “Since you mentioned this, you should think of something similar to me. I remember that the name is the Pied Piper of Hamelin.”
“That is the name.” Bai Liu said, “It is an English children’s poem.”
The poem ‘Pied Piper of Hamelin’ told of a small plague-ridden town where the townspeople were tormented by the rats running around. They tried many things but nothing worked. Then a piper in flowery clothes came to the town and said his flute would take away the rats, but he asked the townspeople to pay him.
The townspeople agreed. The piper played the flute and the rats came from every corner of the town, following the piper. The piper played as he walked and the rats were happy to follow behind him every step of the way. The piper walked to the small river that went up to his waist. The rats also walked into this small river. They were drowned by the waist-high water and floated on the river.
The plague was over and the townspeople were very happy, but they regretted it and were unwilling to pay the piper. Then the piper played the flute again. The moment the flute was heard, the ones that came out from the town were the townspeople’s children. The children laughed and lined up behind the piper like the rats before. They jumped and rejoiced. No matter how the townspeople cried out and dissuaded them, the piper took them away from the town to never be seen again.
Some people said that the piper took these children to the waist-high river, trying to drown the children to get revenge on the townspeople. Some said that the piper turned the children into rats and took them to make trouble in the next town so he could continue to receive payment.
Bai Liu inquired, “Did you see who was playing the flute?”
Bai Liu (6) thought about it. “I didn’t see it. The flute sound came from everywhere and it felt like there was more than one person. However, the flute player wasn’t very skilled. They played several wrong notes and played the same few nursery rhymes over and over for half an hour. This gave me the feeling that they are a beginner.”
Then Bai Liu asked, “Did any children come out after hearing the flute?”
“No.” Little Bai Liu (6) responded very quickly this time. “Apart from the rooms of the newcomers where there are no teachers, all the other rooms have teachers or carers to accompany them. Thus, only we could come out to make calls.”
On the other end of the phone, there was a child’s shrill crying and the ethereal laugher of the child chasing after him. Then Bai Liu (6) remembered something. “By the way, the one being chased is Miao Feichi, another investor’s child.”
“Little Miao Feichi?” Bai Liu spoke with interest. “Why did he come out to call? Oh yes, this child has a bad hobby. You should stay away from him.”
Bai Liu (6) wondered, “What hobby?”
“He likes to eat human flesh.”
The other end of the phone was quiet before little Bai Liu (6)’s calm and rational voice was heard. “Then I understand why he came out to make a call at night. He saw the child crawling on the ground and took the initiative to come out. I thought he came out to make a phone call but after your words, I think he probably came out to eat under the guise of making a phone call.”
Then he encountered a fierce enemy.
“I have a bit of a grudge against this kid’s investor. You should try not to socialize with him.”
“Do I need to do something for you? For example, give him a kick and let him fall to the ground to be caught and killed?” Little Bai Liu (6)’s tone was very plain when talking about doing these bad things. He didn’t sound at all like a teenager. “I will do it for you as long as you give me money.”
“There’s no need for the time being. Just protect yourself. You are more important to me than he is.” Bai Liu touched his chin and chuckled. “I don’t remember being so bold when I was your age.”
Little Bai Liu (6)’s reply was indifferent. “Perhaps at my age, you didn’t encounter an investor who doesn’t look like a good person at first glance but offered a sky-high price to chat with you.”
Bai Liu heard this sentence and couldn’t help recalling his 14 year old self. He had to admit that if he didn’t have Lu Yizhan to firmly lead him down the road of being a person and had met a man who gave him money to do bad things then he really would’ve done such things.
“You don’t have to care about Miao Feichi but if something happens with two children then you can help if possible.” Bai Liu changed the topic. “One is called Mu Ke and the other is that blind little girl. I will naturally pay you to help them.”
Little Bai Liu (6) wondered in a strange tone, “You want to save that little boy and girl too? What is your relationship with them that you would give me money to save them? They looked good…”
“What are you thinking about? She is a child that a friend of mine wants to adopt.” Bai Liu instantly understood the implications in Bai Liu (6)’s words and was a bit speechless. Bai Liu (6)’s estimation of his moral level in adulthood was too low. “I’m not as bad as you say. I’m not interested in children.”
Then Bai Liu considered his characteristic of always wanting money and added, “However, the premise of you helping them is to ensure your own safety. You are the most important to me. Remember this.”
Over there, little Bai Liu (6) was quiet for a few seconds. He didn’t answer Bai Liu directly and instead said, “The call time is 17 minutes and 3 seconds. I will make it 17 minutes. It is 100 yuan a minute so the total is 1,700. Remember to settle it with me.”
“In addition, you aren’t a good person at all so don’t say such words of concern for me.” Little Bai Liu (6)‘s tone was expressionless. “It is strangely disgusting to hear, Mr Investor.”
Then Bai Liu (6) hung up the phone.
Bai Liu, “……”
A minute later, Bai Liu’s walkie-talkie rang again. The voice on the other side was still polite with no fluctuations. “By the way, Mr Investor. I fell three times tonight. Please reimburse my medical expenses. I will ask the dean to send you the bill. Good night.”
Then he hung up again. Bai Liu put away his walkie-talkie and murmured to himself in a slightly incredulous manner, “Was I so annoying when I was 14 years old?”