Ch109 - Labyrinth
The trio sat in the dim light, encircling the lame man in the center.
The lame man did everything he could to shrink his neck and thus lessen his sense of existence.
However, it did not work.
Shen Dongqing slapped the chair’s armrest with a “bam,” and the flimsy armrest immediately cracked.
Without the armrest to support him, his body sagged and he nearly fell to the ground.
Zhou Wenyan, fortunately, reached out and grabbed him.
“The quality is too poor…” mumbled Shen Dongqing, rubbing his nose.
“Where is the token for entering the city” he asked the lame guy, turning his head.
The lame man was in a pickle.
Initially, he only wanted to deceive these folks in order to obtain free labor to do his work.
Not only did he fail to swindle, but he also got himself into trouble.
Previous visitors were clearly not like this!
The lame man cast a sidelong glance towards the three players.
Every member of the trio was taller and stronger than him.
…I’m totally screwed.
In general, the players will blindly obey what the NPC says and will not question it in any way.
Why didn’t this gang play their cards right when it came to him
“I, I don’t know,” the lame man muttered, lowering his head.
Shen Dongqing glanced at Zhou Wenyan.
“I’ll give you another chance,” Zhou Wenyan said with a smile, crossing his legs.
There was no threat, yet the lame guy felt a strange chill.
He hesitated for a moment before saying uneasily, “I don’t have a token, but I know where it is…”
Shen Dongqing: “Where”
Lame Man: “It’s the one who makes our bodies.”
A pitch-black crow flapped its wings and circled in the air before perching on a limb.
It cocked its head to look at this oddly matched group.
The lame man walked in front with difficulty, and his body twitched nervously, presumably because he hadn’t seen the sun in a long time.
But the trio behind him showed little sympathy, and no one even offered him a hand.
Shen Dongqing’s gaze was drawn to the crow.
The bird locked his gaze on him.
For a long time, one person and one bird exchanged stares.
The crow abruptly spread its wings and cawed at Shen Dongqing.
It was extremely provocative, its face stamped with “Heh! You can’t hit me.”
Shen Dongqing grabbed a stone and hurled it at the crow.
The bird shrieked and plummeted off the tree, head first.
Shen Dongqing: “I want to roast it.”
Hearing this, it fluttered with resolve, struggling to fly away.
They watched it flying towards the center of the ghost city.
Shen Dongqing let out an unhappy “tsk” when he realized the ingredient he had secured had escaped.
The lame man limped forward as before, oblivious to the incident behind him.
With effort, he raised his head and peered at a solitary log cabin.
The shape of the wooden house was unusual.
It was perfectly straight and narrow, yet the top was so high and slanted that people feared it would collapse from within.
The lame man averted his gaze, his cheeks twitched, and when he lowered his head, his eyes were menacing.
“We’re here.” He stopped walking and added, “That Sir has an eccentric temper and cruel methods, you…”
The trio confidently strode to the door before he could finish speaking.
Shen Dongqing was in charge of knocking on the door.
There was still no activity in the log cabin after three raps.
Polite as ever, Shen Dongqing knocked again, and then forcibly opened the locked door the next second.
“The quality is awful.” Shen Dongqing sighed and walked in, stepping on the door panel that had fallen to the ground.
The lame man: …
He glared at the trio’s backs and thought venomously, Don’t even think about leaving after you enter this door.
Shen Dongqing couldn’t see anything clearly the moment he entered the dark environment.
He turned his head after getting used to the faint light and saw a pitch-black figure in front of him.
The figure was barely about a half-person tall.
He was sitting in a wheelchair, his upper body hunched forward and a cowl over his head, making his appearance difficult to discern.
“All of you…” The owner of the log home spoke in a raspy, eerie tone.
“Cough, cough… two strangers actually sneaked in,” he said, gloomy and cold as he assessed Shen Dongqing and Zhou Wenyan.
A candle suddenly lit up, revealing the strange cyan eyes and reflecting the owner’s shrunken eyes and withered profile.
Even Wu Jia, who was well-informed, jumped in fright.
Shen Dongqing: “Yeah… we don’t know each other.”
The log cabin owner: “…”
Shen Dongqing was perplexed by his silence: “Did I say something wrong”
The owner of the log cabin changed his rhetoric: “…two living people actually sneaked in.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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The owner of the log house froze again.
“Cough cough cough—” He appeared irritated, his chest heaving up and down as if he was going to die in the next instant.
After coughing, the log cabin’s owner bypassed superfluous dialogue and roared, “You’re all going to die!”
The log home owner’s wheelchair was then flipped over.
“I didn’t want to bully the disabled,” Shen Dongqing muttered as he punched.
The owner of the log house cried out in pain and collapsed on the ground.
He struggled to rise up, but as soon as he did, he was pushed back, just like a fish flopping on the shore.
“You, you, you—” The owner of the log house had never felt so humiliated.
His hands groped on the ground incessantly until they came across a push button.
There was a sound of gears rolling in the wooden house, and one figure after another fell from the roof and dangled in the air.
The figures’ movements were controlled by a thin silk thread linked to their limbs.
With a flick of the log cabin owner’s finger, they all raised their heads and stared blankly at the three visitors.
“So many!” cried Wu Jia, alarmed.
There were far too many people being manipulated.
They were densely stacked together, with almost no gaps between them.
Shen Dongqing, too, felt that the space was too limited to play properly, so he directed Wu Jia, “Grab him and let’s go!”
Wu Jia: “Wait…”
He spotted the hanging people move before he could respond.
He didn’t have time to consider and raced outside, grabbing the owner of the wooden house who was slumping on the ground.
The lame man who was waiting outside heard a wretched shriek from within the wooden house and grinned complacently.
This is what happens when you don’t obey.
The owner of the log house lived in a building full of mechanisms and even had a plethora of puppets.
It was very similar to a fortress.
They couldn’t get out, no matter how skilled the person who went in was.
In the end, there was only one possible outcome: becoming the next puppet.
The lame man turned around and started back slowly, but he’d only taken two steps when he was overtaken.
Those people ran much faster than him and passed him in a matter of seconds.
He turned to see and almost collapsed to the ground in shock.
Shen Dongqing greeted him as he passed by: “Hi—”
The lame man raised his hands and rubbed his eyes.
How, how come this person being carried in his hand like a sack appears so familiar
Wu Jia rotated his wrist as he carried the owner of the wooden house by himself: “He’s really heavy.”
The lame man was so frightened that his damaged leg was cured: “This, this, this…” Wasn’t he the famous little boss in this circle!
The log house’s owner sprawled on the ground, as if his life had lost all meaning.
His wooden house was truly impregnable, and the puppets inside were formidable as well.
They could assault, retreat, and defend as needed, but he never imagined that this group of individuals would directly run out with him!
Shen Dongqing’s motto was that if the problem could be solved easily, only an utter fool would choose the difficult approach.
He half-squatted: “Tell me, where is the token”
The log house owner’s eyes darted as he considered his response.
His IQ was slightly higher than the lame man’s.
He didn’t immediately reveal the location of the token, but instead pointed to a dead end: “In the wooden house.”
Shen Dongqing raised an eyebrow at Zhou Wenyan.
It sounded unlikely.
The wooden house was packed with animated puppets.
Even Shen Dongqing would require some time to deal with them.
Going back now would be the same as walking right into the trap.
Sensing their hesitation, the owner of the log house stated, “Something as valuable as the token should, of course, be kept in a safe place.
I’ll give you the token if you take me back to the wooden house.”
Zhou Wenyan: “Then let’s…”
“Wait!” Shen Dongqing abruptly raised his hand and declared, “He is lying, the token is absolutely not in the wooden house!”
The owner of the wooden house got a bad feeling.
“I didn’t lie…” he forced himself to say.
Shen Dongqing looked at the owner of the wooden house for a moment, then smiled playfully: “I scammed you.
I wasn’t sure at first, but now I know you’re definitely lying.”
The owner of the wooden house: “…”
“If it’s not in the wooden house, where else can it be” he insisted.
“If it were me, I would absolutely take it with me,” Shen Dongqing murmured thoughtfully, cupping his chin in one hand.
“We’ll know after you’re stripped,” he said as he sized up the tightly wrapped owner of the wooden dwelling and clasped his hands.
Shen Dongqing immediately went to work after stating that.
The owner of the wood cabin struggled, looking exactly like a maiden.
Fortunately, Shen Dongqing was stopped by Zhou Wenyan at the key moment.
Shen Dongqing blinked in confusion.
“He’s an eye sore,” explained Zhou Wenyan.
He gave Wu Jia a look.
Wu Jia willingly accepted the responsibility and began the bitter work.
Shen Dongqing had intended to spectate how the owner of the wooden house appeared, but Zhou Wenyan quickly blocked his eyes.
Shen Dongqing twitched his eyelashes subconsciously as the warm palm covered his eyes, and they happened to rub against the hollow of Zhou Wenyan’s palm.
Zhou Wenyan felt a tickle, but the slightly raised lips under his palm were too appealing to resist leaning forward to taste them.
Wu Jia looked up from his work, only to feel that his teeth were a little sore.
He inhaled a cold breath, stripped off the owner of the wooden home, and shook his clothing in mid-air.
He shook out a pitch-black token, as expected.
“I found it!”
Clink, clink, clink— At the same instant, a mountain of tokens fell from the clothing.
Shen Dongqing yanked Zhou Wenyan’s hand away, muttering, “I have an idea…”
Wu Jia: “What”
Shen Dongqing: “One token for three yuan, three for ten yuan.”
The lame man and Wu Jia:
The party arrived empty-handed but returned rich.
The sound of hurrying footsteps emerged from the previously deathly quiet lane.
The players were all thinking their own thoughts as they sped by with their heads bowed.
They all got quests from different NPCs, and the NPCs each desired something different.
It may be the hanged ghost’s tongue or the drowned ghost’s heart.
In any case, killing each other was unavoidable.
The players knew that everyone on the scene was a rival, especially after learning the secrets of the ghost city.
No one wanted to compete for the entry quota for Ghost City.
They were wary of each other, fearful that their swords would turn on each other in the next second.
A hand suddenly extended out from the side, just as they were getting afraid and tense.
“Three yuan a token.”
Shen Dongqing: “This is a limited time offer. Don’t miss it when you’re passing by.”
The players exchanged glances.
Whether it was genuine or a fake, purchasing it didn’t seem that bad.
A player stepped forward and said, “We don’t have any cash.”
Money was mere paper in the game.
No one would have cash on them, of course.
Shen Dongqing’s cheeks bulged.
He appeared to be unsure, and after a few seconds of silence, he responded, “Food is fine.”
Points could be exchanged for food at the game mall, and players would almost certainly bring some to prepare for unforeseen events.
The daring player just now patted his pockets for a spell, discovered a chocolate bar, and handed it up.
Shen Dongqing handed over the token promptly in the “one-handed payment, one-handed delivery” style.
The player believed it didn’t matter if he was tricked, but as soon as he received the token, he realized it was the real deal, and he was ecstatic.
He was elated, but also a little ashamed.
He had clearly taken advantage by obtaining a token for a simple chocolate bar.
He hesitated for a moment before telling Shen Dongqing a piece of information: “The ghost king has not appeared in a long time, and it is very likely that he is no longer in Ghost City.”
What happened next was pretty straightforward once someone took the lead.
The players who were secretly planning to stab each other lined up in a friendly queue and paid for the tokens in succession, transforming the conflict into peace.
They didn’t fight or rob each other, and everyone was civilized.
Most individuals were rather conscientious and thought they had taken advantage of Shen Dongqing, so they compensated with varied gossip.
“The ghost king has vanished, and whoever finds his treasure will be the next ghost king.”
“It’s rumored there’s a door out of the game deep in the ghost city.”
“The game is terrified of Ghost City, so there is no information about it in the players’ forum.”
Some players who refused to follow the trading rules and attempted to rob them were promptly tackled and thrown aside.
It was the first time Shen Dongqing opened shop and he had no experience, but he profited a lot.
In less than three hours, players who heard the news bought the tokens in his hand in exchange for a bunch of goodies.
There were too many snacks for the trio to carry.
A kind lady gave them a backpack, which solved their problem perfectly.
Shen Dongqing was about to grab for the bulging backpack when Zhou Wenyan carried it on his back first.
“I want to drink Coke!” Shen Dongqing leaned over, his weight mostly on Zhou Wenyan’s body.
“I’ll give it to you after a kiss,” Zhou Wenyan teased wickedly, holding a can of Coke in his hand.
Chu~ Shen Dongqing rose and kissed Zhou Wenyan before happily reaching for the can of Coke, opening it, and taking a few sips while sighing contentedly.
He seemed to have thought of something after drinking it, and the corners of his lips curved up in a crafty smile.
He leaned in again and kissed Zhou Wenyan, and after the kiss, he deliberately asked, “Is it delicious”
The two of them were surrounded by the aroma of the fizzy beverage.
“I haven’t tasted it yet, give me another sip,” Zhou Wenyan said leisurely.
He noticed a half-empty can of Coke in front of him as soon as he finished speaking.
Zhou Wenyan: “…I don’t want to drink it like this.”
Shen Dongqing cocked his head, unsure how he wanted to drink it.
Zhou Wenyan taught by example and showed Shen Dongqing how to consume it.
Wu Jia was squatting to one side, bored to the max, and mocked in hushed tones: “You’re an old couple, is it necessary to be that cheesy”
Then he quivered in response to Zhou Wenyan’s stare, exclaiming repeatedly: “It’s necessary! It’s so necessary!”
After finishing the Coke, the trio dashed to the inner ring of the ghost city.
The inner and outer rings separated Ghost City into two tiers.
The outskirts had two-story houses which were old and rotting, with some small advertisements on the walls, and some half-dead “people” living within.
The inner city was enclosed by a high wall, and from the outside, only the tops of the homes could be seen.
A group of players was standing at the intersection of the inner and outer rings at the time.
They didn’t fight because the majority of them bought keys from Shen Dongqing.
They lined up without arguing or quarreling, and the atmosphere appeared to be fairly pleasant.
Perhaps the NPCs here didn’t anticipate the players to obtain the tokens so soon, especially since no casualties occurred.
They came slowly and were taken aback when they noticed the large line at the door.
“Um… How come there are so many”
“Who cares; they have tokens, so we can only let them in.”
“You are all here for the treasure of the ghost king,” said a relatively unassuming NPC on the city wall over a loudspeaker.
“I can tell you that the treasure is in the inner city, but we don’t know where exactly.”
“There are 999 houses in the inner city.
There could be treasure or something else that will kill you in the houses.”
“Then I wish you all the best—”
The NPC stopped speaking, and the city gate slowly opened, revealing a section of the inner city.
There were buildings of all styles in the inner city, crammed together like a vast labyrinth.
The players filed in.
Shen Dongqing and Zhou Wenyan were the last to enter, and the city gate slammed shut behind them.
Wu Jia took a look at the building in front of him.
It was a classic brick house.
The door was shut, and the glass in the windows was gone, but the inside was sealed with tarpaulin, making it hard to peek in.
One of the players was clever enough to go to the window and poke the tarpaulin.
A small opening tore open in the tarpaulin, and the player leaned forward to peer in.
Suddenly, a pale hand reached out from within, choked his neck, and dragged the guy in through the little opening.
A player nearby reacted and wanted to assist, but he couldn’t fight the person in the building and could only watch the unfortunate player get pulled in.
The sound of gnawing bones emerged from the brick house a moment later.
The tarpaulin had a little hole in it but it was dark inside, so no one dared to go up and examine it again.
The players understood after this lesson that these houses could not be broken into.
After all, there were 999 dwellings in this area, but only one treasure.
The odds of winning the jackpot were very slim.
Wu Jia’s enthusiasm waned a little after witnessing the scenario.
“Brother Shen, if you are pulled in, can you run out” he asked, turning his head.
Shen Dongqing: “I haven’t tried it, I don’t know.” He rubbed his chin and asked, “Would you like me to try”
Wu Jia swiftly put a halt to this perilous thought: “Don’t, don’t.”
Shen Dongqing: “Fine… However, entering the house is akin to signing a contract with the occupants within, and others cannot interfere with the two parties’ actions.”
Wu Jia: “So”
Shen Dongqing: “So let’s go in and test it.”
Finally, Zhou Wenyan stretched out and grabbed the person’s hand, saying, “Go inside and have a look.”
Shen Dongqing gazed around at the run-down dwellings that were not fit to be seen and seemed to comprehend what Zhou Wenyan meant.
“Yes, if I were the ghost king, I wouldn’t put things in such a dingy spot,” he nodded.
The players were afraid to enter the houses rashly and could only wander outside.
They were now scattered around the streets in groups of twos and threes.
This inner city was enormous, it must be acknowledged.
There were around a hundred players, but it was like a drop of water falling into the sea, and there were no waves.
Apart from the occasional screams, the entire ghost city was quiet, peaceful, clean and hygienic.
The quality of residents and tourists was so outstanding that it could be rated as one of the top ten livable cities.
Shen Dongqing, Zhou Wenyan, and Wu Jia skipped these dilapidated houses and walked towards the center.
The dwellings were in gorgeous disarray, forming a massive labyrinth that was a sight to behold.
People may have inadvertently returned to the starting spot as a result of the design.
Zhou Wenyan left a mark on the wall.
Shen Dongqing, dizzy from the walk, leaned forward on Zhou Wenyan’s shoulder, half-squinted his eyes, and said, “Why don’t we go in and take a look”
Perhaps because he was drowsy, he talked softly, as if acting coquettish.
Zhou Wenyan made no attempt to persevere.
He quickly dropped his resistance and rubbed Shen Dongqing’s head, saying, “Then go in and take a look.”
Shen Dongqing awoke instantly, pointed to a little three-story villa in the distance, and exclaimed, “That one! We can also sleep in there!”
It was a little late.
Shen Dongqing was still clad in the clothes he wore when he was fished out of the sea, and he radiated the sea’s distinct fishy odor.
He didn’t care about the ghost king’s treasure at the moment.
He was only looking for a place to shower and change his clothes.
At first glance, the small bungalow seemed gorgeous and charming, but it was also dangerous.
The players did not dare to give it a second glance.
Wu Jia followed the two to the villa’s door and gulped: “Are you sure you want to go in”
Shen Dongqing knocked on the door without hesitation.
The occupant arrived swiftly, and the doorknob was turned, followed by the door opening a crack.
The players spread about watching the group intently, anticipating the frightening scene that would unfold once the door was opened.
Shen Dongqing was annoyed that the person inside was taking too long to open the door, so he shoved it open directly, only to meet a skinny face.
Shen Dongqing was a peace-loving person who never took the initiative to beat people.
Instead, he began with a friendly greeting.
The resident appeared to be terrified as he froze in place.
His entire face contorted into a scream, then he turned around and ran away without hesitation.
The quickness of the action and the rapid footsteps made the players who witnessed this scene question who the ghost was.
The players were dumbstruck.
Was there something wrong with the way the door was opened
Shen Dongqing hesitated for a moment before looking back at Zhou Wenyan: “…Do I look that ugly”
Zhou Wenyan: “No, you’re cute.”