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Chapter 27: Eerie Cinephile City (XI)


Two bizarre monsters, two kinds of force. Their howls clashed in midair, twisting and blooming. Formless sound transformed into physical damage.

Like an animal attacked by piranhas, the demon’s body was torn open, exposing the flesh and bones beneath the dark grey skin. Gradually, the creature was stripped of flesh until only a skeleton remained, which shattered into pieces once it hit the ground.

On the other side, a myriad of cuts covered the tree monster’s body from its trunk to the branches at the top. These gashes did not seem to heal and continued to worsen, further injuring the tree monster.

Looking at the situation at hand, the best outcome would be where both monsters took out each other. But, in the most untimely fashion, darkness descended.

In a split second, five people’s line of sight went dark. The darkness engulfed everything and shrouded everyone. All light, whether from within, without, or right before their eyes, were useless.

For the first time, the darkness didn’t ring with the disturbing and terrifying sounds from before. However, this silence had nothing to do with whether they covered their ears with both hands; because several seconds later, a distinct murmur invaded everyone’s ears.

“Meddling Demigod, you shall pay the price…”

Once this line was uttered the darkness immediately passed and light was restored to everyone’s sight. They stood, and faced the withered tree to see what the monster would mutate into.

Feng Bujue was the first to notice something wrong. The tree didn’t seem to have increased in strength at all, instead its wounds noticeably worsened and its branches began crumbling to ashes.

“Are you the Demigod the voice just mentioned?” Feng Bujue suddenly walked up to talk to the monster.

The others had yet to react when the tree monster open its mouth to speak, “Human… find the key, repair the seal.”

“We’ve already found the Key of Fire,” Feng Bujue said. “What happened to this city? Who’s the main culprit behind this? Where’s the Key of Wood?” he fired off three questions.

“Samodeer… one of the【Time Lord】’s servants. He was stripped of his divine power and banished forever as a result of his betrayal….” at this time, the tree monster’s branches had just about completely deteriorated and his trunk began to turn to ash, “Like hundreds of cockroaches, dead yet not vanquished… Samodeer didn’t take this lying down. With his remaining power, he removed this city from reality and hid here. This place no longer flows within the river of time… rather it is a puddle independent from the river.” As he spoke, the bark that made up the face of the tree monster had begun to flake off but the tree continued, “He summoned the Demon Gate in order to avoid the Time Lord’s punishment, and planned to release the seal. Once the seal on the gate is released, the city will become Demon Territory, signifying its descent into becoming【Chief of All Demons】’s territory; the Time Lord will lose his jurisdiction here.”

“Some humans made a deal with Samodeer. As long as they helped open the seal, they could save their lives. But when the seal was lifted and demons rushed out from within the gate, Samodeer immediately abandoned those people. In front of these insatiable human-preying demons, humanity stood no chance; all the humans in the city were swallowed up in darkness.”

“Only a few survivors were successful in escaping with two of the Demon Gate’s keys.” At this point, the tree monster was almost completely withered and at the brink of destruction, but it continued to persevere, “Samodeer, himself, is unable to touch either the keys or the seal. He also cannot devour humans near any of these things, but the demons can… As a result, he made a promise to the demons: at the end of each cycle he will grant them a portion of the darkness’s power with the condition that the demons must search and kill all humans within the city to ensure that no one can restore the seal…”

“Where is the Key of Wood?” Feng Bujue asked again; he had a very bad feeling. In this kind of situation, there always was a high chance this kind of NPC monster will fart[1] right when revealing the crucial part.

“The people who had the Key of Wood died below…” replied the tree monster, “I’ve already opened a path, wait for my body to die and then you can go down…” Its mouth finally crumbled to dust and fell away. Several seconds later, starting from the trunk and ending at its roots extended underground, everything instantly disintegrated into black dust.

Though the tree monster died, the hole it dug through the ground left an entrance to an underground passage.

【Current mission has changed; the Main Mission has been updated】

After the notification sounded, the mission was changed in the mission log:【Enter the passage and look for the Key of Wood】

Feng Bujue turned his head towards the group, “Let’s first go to the Everyday Items section and see if there’s a flashlight before we go down.”

The others felt muddled after listening to a long spiel of the plot background and just stood dumbfounded. Several seconds later, the first thing Wang Tanzhi asked was, “Uh… Jue Bro, what just happened? Can you summarize?”

Feng Bujue was already walking toward the Everyday items section on the first floor, “After confronting that tree just now and after hearing what was whispered during the darkness, I’ve realized that this tree is not the same as all the other monsters we’ve seen so far. Since it didn’t look like it had much longer to live, I took the initiative to ask three questions.” The other four followed behind Feng Bujue as they listened to his recount. “The tree basically fulfilled its NPC duties: it contributed to a fight scene, explained the plot, gave out hints, and even provided a passageway. After all that, it died tragically as plot fodder.”

He walked to over to a collapsed shelf, casually picked up a package off the floor, and ripped it open while continuing, “According to the big tree,” he walked over to a collapsed shelf, casually picked up a package off the floor, and ripped it open while continuing, “only people near the keys of the Demon Gate, and the gate itself, will not disappear without a trace like the other humans in the city. This fact explains the situation at the police station and also proves that the key isn’t here in this corpse-less shopping center.”

“Oh, also… I think we must be an exception to the rule. Or maybe it’s because we’re players, so we don’t classify as this space-time’s ‘humans’. Otherwise, once we entered this Scenario we’d have been erased by Samodeer already.”

Feng Bujue paused for a second before continuing, “As for our current circûmstances, it’s really obvious… namely, this Scenario’s big BOSS, at every thirty-minute interval, strengthens every demon in this map all at once via the darkness. It’s very likely he won’t show himself, he might not even necessarily have a ‘body’, but the demons are a constant threat to us.”

“The BOSS’s objective is to kill every last person that can use the keys. At that time, this space will be permanently linked to the Demon Territory. Then, as long as he hides here, the Time Lord won’t be able to pursue him.”

“The way for us to clear this Scenario is to find the two keys, return them to the front of the Demon Gate, and find a way to restore the two unlocked seals on the Gate. Once we succeed, this space will no longer be connected to that so called ‘Demon Territory’. Then that guy called the Time Lord will get involved and tear Samodeer to shreds.”

“This world outlook of yours is really something special…” mumbled Wang Tanzhi.

Feng Bujue already found some flashlights–this time undamaged–but there were no batteries inside. “These are all functional. Everyone take two, and just in case, find some batteries and some extra.” He continued, “Oh, and one more thing. I saw the Sporting Goods section had hockey sticks, baseball bats, golf clubs, and so on… That kind of stuff shouldn’t have any prerequisites; we can grab one each.”[2]

The five of them armed themselves in this manner. This time everyone had at least one Ordinary Grade melee weapon on hand. Lonesome even found some chef’s knives in the Kitchen Appliances section. They were much longer than that fruit knife Wang Tanzhi had; everyone grabbed one as well. Lil’ Tan finally got rid of that fruit knife he got from the Tutorial.

Long Aomin was the only one who didn’t pick the chef’s knife. Instead, he grabbed the comparatively shorter and wide-bladed Chinese Cleaver. It was the heavy-duty meat cleaver type of knife. It would seem he felt that this kind of heavier weapon was more reliable and effective.

Finishing their preparations took almost ten minutes already. But, considering there might still be monsters underground and the darkness’s time limit, no one continued to delay the descent and under Long Aomin’s lead, they headed into the passageway.

When they first entered underground, the area was quite narrow, the ground underfoot was dirt, the road in front was sloped, and the there was very little light. After walking a short while, they arrived at a relatively spacious sewer, high enough for a person to stand up straight. It seems the tree monster simply opened a passageway to some sewer compartment beneath the shopping center. This path was one the person who held the Key of Wood took. Since that tree clearly hinted that the key holder “died” down here already, then unfortunately, odds were high that there would be some hidden monster in the sewer system.

The curved walls of the sewer brought on a strange oppressive feeling as if the walls were constantly closing in. This, of course, was only an illusion. The only real source of distress was from the foul odor and the things floating in the water by their feet: truly unbearably disgusting things. Lonesome girl, from the moment they descended, had an unsightly expression. She always pointed her flashlight straight ahead, never dipping the beam down to those things underfoot. She always followed behind Lonely Lil Bro.

Long Aomin, shield in one hand and the baseball bat in the other, walked at the front of the group. If some random monster were to suddenly jump out, he’d immediately greet it with a flurry of chaos without fail. If beating it to death with the bat didn’t work, he’d take out the cleaver to finish it off. Feng Bujue and Wang Tanzhi walked in the middle of the group, ready to aid Long Aomin at a moment’s notice.

This section of the sewer had only one path. When they first came through the passageway earlier, the left side was caved in leaving only a few small openings and the smaller pipes on the wall to let sewer water flow through. They could only head right, down this path. So since the chances of a monster coming from behind them were much lower, Lonely and Lonesome were walking at the back where it was relatively safer.

Just like this, everyone continued forward for five or six minutes.

“Look at that.” Long Aomin suddenly stopped and spoke, “Right over there, that corpse.”

Feng Bujue stretched his neck and peered over Long Aomin’s shoulder to discover the sewer, in about ten meters, came to a dead end. A closed sluice gate blocked their path; the sewer water continued to flow out through a small crack at the bottom of the gate. And in the corner, illuminated by the flashlight, was a corpse.


Footnotes:

[1]Basically fúck up at the worst time

[2]The joke here is that all the things he listed ended in 棍 which means bat. The police baton also falls into this category. Melee ftw!


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