Chapter 30: Ankang Ancient Town (9)
When Yan Wei yelled for help, Lin Zhen still had his bow drawn, facing the cave behind Yan Wei in case of any sudden danger.
But Yan Wei’s panicked cry arose, and Lin Zhen’s hand, which has never shaken his entire life, nearly snapped the bowstring.
Yu Feizhou took three steps forward, bent down, and stretched out his hand.
He said in a gentle tone, “We came back to save you, don’t be afraid.”
Yu Feizhou had no other thoughts.
People like Yan Wei, who are pure and clever, are the kind to evoke people’s emotions at first sight.
It was either jealousy-like hate or an intimate sort of liking.
Yu Feizhou was powerful and has never been compared with others, so he had no such feelings of jealousy or resentment.
After seeing Yan Wei in the instance, he couldn’t help but feel good about Yan Wei’s ascension.
What’s more, although Yan Wei didn’t seem to contribute much, he didn’t lag behind.
He did not make trouble like most newcomers did and was far less useless than Jiang Xiu said.
He felt that he could understand Yan Mingguang.
If he brought Yan Wei in, he would also want to take Yan Wei out safely.
With a gentle smile, he held out his hand towards Yan Wei.
“Stand up, okay”
Yan Wei looked up at him, blinked, and swiftly raised his hand.
Seeing that Yan Wei’s hand was about to reach Yu Feizhou, the rustle of a brandished whip sounded.
The tail of the whip caught Yan Wei’s wrist and pulled him up.
Immediately after Yan Wei was pulled up, the whip curled around Yan Wei’s waist and dragged him to Yan Mingguang’s side.
At the moment of landing, the man raised his hand to support Yan Wei.
He gently retracted the whip without causing any discomfort to Yan Wei.
Yan Mingguang’s movements were too quick, and Yu Feizhou’s hand was still in the air.
He wasn’t angry either, only withdrawing his hand and smiling politely.
Yan Mingguang left the whip connected to Yan Wei’s left wrist with indifferent eyes.
Yan Wei knew that he did this so that the two of them could use the whip to communicate.
Yu Feizhou didn’t know about it, so he might assume that Yan Mingguang was deliberately targeting him.
The man was not hostile to him and seemed very friendly.
Yan Wei didn’t want the other party to misunderstand and said to Yu Feizhou, “Thank you.”
Lin Zhen stared at Yan Wei.
The corner of his mouth ticked lightly.
“Didn’t you say that umbrellas were chasing you Where are they”
“At the back.
Let’s get out of here.
It’ll be tricky when more than a hundred umbrellas come here…” Yan Wei lied with a straight face, pointing to the umbrella that had fallen apart on the ground.
“These umbrellas don’t fly very fast.
I was able to outrun them with difficulty.
Only this one caught up with me.
I don’t know why this one was the fastest.
I thought it was going to kill me when it flew past me.
I didn’t expect it to pass me… It might have detected you guys.
After all, three lives must be worth more than my own.
Fortunately, you all showed up.”
At the same time, Yan Wei clenched the whip still wrapped around his hand and said to Yan Mingguang in his heart: 【Teacher Yan.
I’ll tell you what happened to me.
Can you go and dig out the smallest bone from the umbrella first It’s a phalanx.
You’ll be able to see it at one glance.
Don’t tell the others about it.】
Yan Mingguang glanced at him mutely and then walked over to the broken umbrella.
He held the whip with one hand, turned over a few bones with the other, and quickly found the little finger bone.
His indifferent voice followed.
“I didn’t see anything special.”
It was a response to what Yan Wei said, “I don’t know why this one was the fastest,” pretending to probe what was different about the umbrella.
As he spoke, he silently placed the little phalanx into the prop bar of the information panel.
The cave was dimly lit.
Lin Zhen and Yu Feizhou didn’t think the umbrella would have anything.
Yan Mingguang moved so fast that neither Lin Zhen nor Yu Feizhou found anything wrong.
After Yan Mingguang completed the task, he pulled Yan Wei with the whip, turned around, and walked towards another path.
“Hey, why are you leaving Aren’t we going to stay and wait for the umbrellas” Lin Zhen shouted, “I can’t beat them alone, but maybe the three of us can.”
Yan Mingguang didn’t even turn back.
“Do it yourself.”
Yu Feizhou patted Lin Zhen.
“Let’s go quickly.
We can’t waste time on this sort of danger.
It’ll be dark outside in a while, and we’ll be in danger if we’re still in the well.”
Lin Zhen naturally understood this.
They went down the well mainly for the secret behind the matron and the umbrella.
They haven’t gained a point, but time is still passing, and no one knows what will happen at night.
He just had a mouth addiction and didn’t intend to stay doing useless work.
He placed his longbow on his back and sneered.
“Okay, let’s go.”
“At a time like this, you should stop watching the fun and enjoying it.”
“You’d better put away your holy mother heart first.” Lin Zhen raised his eyebrows and stared at Yan Wei, whom Yan Mingguang led with the whip.
As if talking to himself, he said, “Compassion should also look at who the target is…”
The light ahead had always been so faint that they could barely see the road.
Occasionally there would be one or two forks in the path, which should combine with the other entrances — after all, there were five entrances at the bottom of the well, and they have been to two.
There must be three additional areas with umbrellas.
Aimlessly walking will only consume time, and as Yan Wei said, numerous umbrellas were chasing him from behind.
Lin Zhen had no choice but to take on the responsibility of exploring the road.
Black feathered arrows flew forward.
In the narrow passage, there was the sound of the projectiles in the distance puncturing walls or never returning a sound.
The group judged the direction according to the echoes from different intersections and calmly moved forward as a temporary party.
The four reached momentary cooperation in silence.
Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang informed each other about what occurred during their separation.
【You also got a girl’s phalanx How did you find the umbrella】 Yan Wei asked.
【I have a skill,】Yan Mingguang paused and then added, 【Stats double during a life or death crisis.】
Yan Wei’s footsteps subconsciously slowed down a little.
He had always understood that Yan Mingguang did not mind his open style, which held some purpose.
Perhaps Yan Mingguang was like him, possessing this sort of capability.
But he didn’t expect the man to say it directly without concern, just as Yan Mingguang would give up collecting clues to come and look for him — Yan Wei felt that their relationship had not yet reached this stage.
Yan Mingguang, this individual.
Sometimes Yan Wei could see through the other person’s thoughts at once, whereas other times, he couldn’t comprehend them.
He followed behind Yan Mingguang, looked at the other person’s back, and paused for a while before saying: 【I also used my skill to find a girl’s phalanx.
In addition, I also found the most important thing on the umbrellas — the core of each umbrella is the phalanx of a finger.】
【The umbrellas can be divided into two kinds.
One type is made of the girls’ skin and bones, which are very powerful.
As long as death is triggered, they can kill an ordinary seventh-floor player with no effort.
The other type is the people the girl’s killed.
Men and women, young and old, the umbrellas are made of their skin and bones.
They are ordinary in power, and I can tear them apart as long as I bother.】
【My current guess is: The girls are connected to the matron.
They were either killed by her or… the townspeople were involved.
It might be some demonic technique and may even have to do with the mountain god this town believes in.
I don’t believe that the townspeople are innocent.
With so many umbrellas, it’s impossible for this town to know nothing about the deaths of hundreds of people.
The ghosts these murdered girls turned into killed the ordinary victims.
Because the relationship was weakened, the umbrella’s strength is average.
【–The matron or the townspeople kill the girls, the girls kill other people, and there are more and more umbrellas.
If these umbrellas appear near a living person, at night, the person will be skinned and boned to death.
An umbrella will be made with their skin and bones.
During the day, the umbrellas and ghosts will return to the bottom of the well to hide.
If the matron wants to use the umbrellas — whether to harm others or for other uses — she must go down the well again, drag several umbrellas out, and set them at the doorway or hide them inside rooms.】
【Their phalanges must have some function.
We currently have two phalanges from girls and one hundred twenty-six phalanges from ordinary victims.
No matter what, we’re definitely in the lead.】
Yan Mingguang listened to Yan Wei’s analysis and asked him:【Won’t compete for first answer points】
Only when they speak out can they earn first answer points.
Because of the over 100 phalanges, the amount of information Yan Wei has was now significantly higher than that of other players.
These clues will contain at least one first answer point.
【Of course, we will,】Yan Wei chuckled, 【But not right now.
We have only unraveled the things floating on the surface.
We still don’t know why the umbrellas exist, their relationship with the mountain god, and this mysterious matron…】
Yan Mingguang nodded slightly and continued to lead Yan Wei with his whip.
The further they went, the colder the temperature in the cave was.
A chilly wind blew across Yan Wei’s cheeks.
It was as if something ice-cold was touching him.
The surroundings have become notably eerie.
The footsteps of the four of them echoed in the cave, and Lin Zhen seemed to have no sense of the coldness that gave him goosebumps and chattered aside.
Yan Wei analyzed the instance with Yan Mingguang and divided his attention to communicating with Yu Feizhou.
He incidentally asked many things about the world inside the tower from the talkative seed player.
“…So, in addition to Yuemang, there are also other organizations such as Polian and Xuanniao that high-level players on floors eighty to ninety manage.
Other players attach themselves to organizations, and players in an organization often ascend together” Yan Wei blinked.
His clear eyes sparkled with pure curiosity.
Yu Feizhou said everything he knew.
In this way, high-level players can take players with a low level.
It is beneficial when ascending or descending the tower.
However, some players will be fixed at some levels, constantly rising and falling.
Although they can’t get points, they’ll be able to refresh props.
Some props that allow the change of owners will be circulating within the organization.
Information and connections are intertwined, and organizations check and balance each other’s power, forming a very stable ecological environment in the inner world of the tower.”
“Does the tower encourage ascending floors”
“Yes.” Yu Feizhou’s eyes flashed in surprise.
“You’re very bright.
No matter what, the rewards you get from ascending the tower are the biggest.
If you and Yan Mingguang rise like this and successfully finish the level, you will reap more rewards than the seventh-floor players who scaled the tower floor by floor.
But even so, only a minority choose this method — because the death rate is too high.”
Yan Wei nodded.
The light ahead suddenly brightened.
It was a radiance that could not appear underground, and it shone straight into Yan Wei’s eyes, piercing his strengthened eyesight.
He gripped the whip with one hand and covered his eyes with his other hand.
Moments later, the intense glare subsided, and Yan Wei’s eyes adapted to the daytime-like brightness.
He dropped his hand.
The scene in front of him had altered completely.
Yu Feizhou and Lin Zhen were missing.
It was unknown if it was because a whip linked Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang together that were still standing in tandem.
Up ahead were rows of connected tile and brick buildings.
There was continuous drizzle and light wind.
Although the sky was covered with a thin layer of dark clouds, the sunlight behind the clouds was still faintly visible.
–It was not the cave below the well seen a while ago.
Yan Wei looked around the seemingly calm and peaceful surroundings and muttered, “How did we get here”
“Yu Feizhou and Lin Zhen know some things about the well,” Yan Mingguang said slowly, “They never mentioned this situation.”
Yu Feizhou and Lin Zhen found clues concerning the bottom of the well in the main hall, and the clues all originated from the matron’s records.
If they were unaware of the abrupt change in location, this signifies that it is a situation that has not been recorded and will not be encountered by the matron.
It was aimed towards “intruders” only.
Unexpected events can occur at any time under unknown contingencies.
Yan Wei thought quickly and immediately said to Yan Mingguang: 【Turn off the projection.】
Yan Mingguang instantly closed the projection and said to him, “It’s not teleportation.
It’s an illusion.”
“You also noticed…” In the thin curtain of rain, Yan Wei looked up.
The light brown eyes reflected the slightly bright sky.
He raised his finger and pointed above his head.
“The sun is directly above, noon.
But it was almost noon when we came in.
After so long, it should be approaching evening right now.
We should still be in the well, probably because the gradual contact with the depths of the well triggered this illusion.
The location of the illusion…”
Yan Wei pointed to the building in front of him.
“It’s very similar to the architectural style of the mountain temple.
If there’s nothing we’re unaware of, this should be the ancient town of Ankang.”
“Hold onto the whip.”
“Don’t worry, Teacher Yan.
You don’t actually treat me as a waste snack, right This illusion is quite real—”
He stopped talking.
Not far away came the sound of pure and innocent singing.
The children’s voices overlapped together.
“The stars are shining, the moon is hanging…”
“This is a mountain and river bestowed by God, this is a fertile field, this is a blessing from heaven…”
“It’s raining, it’s raining, the crops are going to grow…”
“Let’s hold up our umbrellas…”
Up ahead the path, townspeople wearing ethnic apparel appeared one after another on the empty streets.
They unfurled exquisite umbrellas and strolled in the drizzling rain.
The children carried schoolbags, sang songs, and accompanied them home with umbrellas.
They seemed to be very fond of the rain, subconsciously stretching their hands out of their umbrellas and smearing a few droplets on their faces with their palms.
Yan Wei’s clothes were remarkably conspicuous in this ancient town, yet others didn’t appear to mind them and kept walking with a smile.
Only a young lady from afar rested her eyes on them and walked towards the two.
Her appearance looked so young you could tell just by catching sight of her that she was no more than 20 years old.
The youth’s body had a neat disposition, delicate and beautiful facial features, and fair skin.
From head to toe, she was stunning all over.
If such a beauty approached someone at ordinary times, no one would feel tense.
However, Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang’s expressions both changed.
—On this beautiful girl lay a skinless, boneless, bloody ghost! Under her feet, there was no trace of a shadow.
She walked in front of Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang.
Her attractive face showed a gentle smile.
“Come with me.”
On her back, the lying ghost correspondingly smiled menacingly at the pair.
The mutilated face squeezed in, and the stench of blood dripped along with the smiling expression, melting into the trickling rain.
Not only did Yan Wei show no look of shock, he even raised his chin and flashed a standard smile at the ghost on the girl’s back.
The apparition did not frighten Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang, but the girl had already turned around with her umbrella, walking towards the town.
Yan Mingguang glanced at Yan Wei.
“We follow.” Yan Wei’s eyes were in concentration.
“I think… she’s one of the girls who were made into umbrellas.”
In the illusion, Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang followed the girl with a ghost and an umbrella in the ancient town of Ankang.
Outside the illusion, in the real Ankang Ancient Town, Jiang Xiu and Zheng Mao gradually came closer to accurate information.
After they arrived, the situation they encountered was what the cook Hu Ayu said — the town’s residents were particularly bad-tempered.
It was better to say that residents were a bit more neurotic than ordinary people, rather than having a bad temper.
In front of the houses, all kinds of umbrellas were unfurled, but the roads had almost no people.
This town seemed to keep umbrellas to welcome the arrival of the Mountain God Festival.
They held beliefs on rainy days while panicking about the wet weather.
In the face of Jiang Xiu and Zheng Mao’s inquiries, the townspeople walked away quickly, showing no patience with these “outsiders”.
They surreptitiously probed the town and discovered that apart from the ignorant and innocent children, the residents were not anticipating the festival but were frightened.
There was a man who got tangled by the doorstep and was mumbling something like “the wrath of the mountain god”.
It didn’t take long for Jiang Xiu and Zheng Mao to see Hu Ayu, the cook who had descended the mountain after cooking.
Beautiful women were always more popular wherever they were, but Hu Ayu had no such treatment.
Not only that, the people in this town seem to detest Hu Ayu so much that they avoid her once they catch sight of her.
In the light rain, someone hurriedly ran through with an umbrella, bumping into Hu Ayu, who had just come down from the mountain.
Hu Ayu was knocked to the ground by surprise, and the muddy rainwater soaked her clothes.
The man took a step back and said with disgust.
“Heard you went to the mountain temple to cook The matron dared to let you do, not afraid of the wrath of the mountain god… You’re not even holding an umbrella.
Bah, bad luck.”
After the man finished talking, he quickly held his umbrella up, bypassed Hu Ayu, and left.
The cook was on the soil, looking like a sorry figure in the rain.
The pair stood by and took the image into their eyes.
“No wonder she’s been arranged to cook at the temple.
She was also a source of information.
Zheng Mao, help her up and ask about the situation.”
Zheng Mao smiled awkwardly.
Nervousness filled the entire town.
Jiang Xiu and Zheng Mao still don’t know what the words “mountain god” and “wrath” represent in this population.
Who knows if the townspeople will mark them with a debuff for helping Hu Ayu up.
Jiang Xiu saw Zheng Mao’s hesitation at a glance, gave him a hard pat, and pushed him forward, saying, “If you don’t go, shall I If you get marked with a debuff, I can save you.
If I get marked with a debuff, can I rely on you”
“Jiang-ge, no, I-” Jiang Xiu glared at Zheng Mao.
He swallowed his saliva and dared not provoke Jiang Xiu.
“I’ll go, I’ll go.”
He walked up to Hu Ayu, held out his hand, and smiled hypocritically.
“Miss, what a coincidence to meet you again in town.”
Hu Ayu glimpsed at him and whispered, “Thank you.” She then grabbed Zheng Mao’s hand and stood up.
The scattered townspeople took a quick look in their direction.
Sure enough, Zheng Mao helped Hu Ayu up, and a debuff “hatred from the townspeople” hung on Zheng Mao.
Zheng Mao gritted his teeth.
He was presently suspended with a debuff and had to rely on Jiang Xiu, so he swallowed his anger and stated nothing.
Jiang Xiu walked up to Hu Ayu quite casually and smiled politely at the beautiful cook.
He said gently, “I noticed that other people in town don’t seem… to have a good attitude towards you.
We passed by here on our trip thanks to you and the matron’s hospitality, and we also want to thank you.
Is it convenient for me to know what happened Maybe I can help you.”
Perhaps it was because of Zheng Mao’s help just now that this cook, who carried no attitude towards Jiang Xiu, had a good impression.
Her eyes turned, a bit of timidity slipped through her clear eyes, and her expression was quite hesitant.
After a while, she nodded: “Okay, you two should come home with me first, and then I’ll talk.”
In the illusion at the bottom of the well
Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang followed the girl with a skinless ghost on her back into town.
This girl seemed to have been the one who brought them into this illusion.
Gradually, the townspeople showed signs of being able to see them, but they couldn’t see the girl with an umbrella and a ghost.
Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang walked into an ordinary house with an abundance of hanging red upper garments, and the young lady abruptly disappeared.
Many people poured out of the house, crowding and shouting, pushing the two of them into the residence.
The people kept saying things like “happy event” and “it’s about to start”, sending Yan Wei and Yan Mingguang into two respective rooms.
Yan Wei held on to the whip in Yan Mingguang’s hand — they acted on the occasion, not separating according to the arrangement of the illusion.
But the men, women, and children didn’t insist.
They just laughed and said, “This young couple can’t be separated.
Let them stay together and wait!”
Subsequently, the two were pushed into an enthusiastically decorated room.
“Why do I feel we’re going through a plot” Yan Wei confirmed that there was no danger in the room for the time being and sat down on the bed covered with red bedding.
“This illusion seems to be…”
Yan Mingguang rarely said a long list of words.
“There’s a type of malicious spirit’s aura called retrospection.
It’s a scene before death formed by the condensed grievances of people who died tragically.
The illusion of retrospection will repeat the last segment of the ghost’s life, and people who accidentally enter will be forced to substitute and experience this section — including the last moment of the spirit, that is, the scene of death.
If it isn’t solved…”
“You go through the scene of death and die” Yan Wei raised his eyebrows and pointed to the bright red silks and satins hanging on the bedstead.
“Then I know why two people entered.
The last scene the girl experienced during her lifetime was probably marriage, and the two of us…”
His expression was quite unnatural.
“Cough, it should be the groom and the bride.”
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Have some translations of organization names and side characters
Polian: 破 (pò) broken; D]damaged 鐮 (lián) scythe; sickle
Xuanniao: 玄 (xuán) black 鳥 (niǎo) bird
Lin Zhen: 林 (lín) forest 縝 (zhěn) meticulous; careful
Yu Feizhou: 魚 (yú) fish 飛舟 (fēi zhōu) fast boat; flying boat (lol)
Jiang Xiu: 蔣 (jiǎng) surname Jiang 修 (xiū) decorate; fix; build