Chapter 36: The Haunted Mansion by the Tarn (III)
“What’s this mean? What is a ‘The Haunted Palace’”? asked Wang Tanzhi.
“Is your next question going to be ‘can I eat it?’” retorted Feng Bujue.
“I’m already passed the age where I’d ask ‘can I eat it’ in a malicious moe way… besides, I’m being very serious right now!” protested Wang Tanzhi.
“Look for yourselves,” Feng Bujue stood up to let Lil’ Tan and Long Bro see what he was examining while crouched.
After the two leaned in, they discovered there were words that were apparently carved onto the wall with a knife. The writing was completely in English, but players can open the Game menu to examine the words again to see the translation.
It appeared to be a something like a short English poem; the contents were as follows:
【In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace—
Radiant palace—reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion,
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!】
“What does this even mean?” Wang Tanzhi was confused after he finished reading.
“This poem, ‘The Haunted Palace’, should have six parts altogether?” Long Aomin randomly guessed.
They both felt… in any case, Feng Bujue is here. That guy knows everything. We’ll just ask him. But to their surprise, when the two turned their heads around, they discovered that the jerk had already disappeared….
“Jue bro?” Wang Tanzhi looked all around. He even took a step to the side and raised his head to look at the stairs leading up to the second floor. “Where is he? One second of not paying attention, and he just poofed?”
Long Aomin looked left to right but didn’t find even a trace of Feng Bujue’s shadow. He could only helplessly shrug his shoulders, “He’d already said a moment ago that we’d have to act separately. It’s likely he quietly slipped away while we were looking at the poem.”
Wang Tanzhi spoke, “Then we should also go search for clues. In any case, Jue Bro said after the Main Mission changes, to meet up here again.”
Long Aomin nodded. The two of them immediately began to investigate the first floor. They pushed open each and every door that would open and checked each room to see whether or not there were other stanzas of “The Haunted Palace” or some clues inside.
Inside the first floor’s winding corridor.
The two female players were slowly, but vigilantly, heading forward. Looking at their stances, it was obvious that right from the start they’d already encountered some things like pitfalls and what not.
Right now, Rain had already drawn and was wielding her shiny sword. Although the item was only of Ordinary Grade, however, she was able to attain the【Ruthless Beheader】title using such a weapon. It was clear enough that there was something outstanding about the title.
Sorrowful hadn’t taken out a gun at all. She made just about the same judgment as Feng Bujue: if this Scenario just has ghosts and traps, then there is no reason for guns.
“Eh?” Sorrowful, who was walking behind Rain, was dumbfounded suddenly at the new notification. Several seconds later she said, “Hah… unexpectedly, they found a side mission.”
Rain looked at the mission contents for a bit, then asked, “Should we also cooperate in searching for this ‘The Haunted Palace’?”
“Well… we don’t have to deliberately look for it, I guess,” Sorrowful mulled it over as she said. “For the time being, we don’t know what it is after all. In the first place, we’re looking for clues right now.”
“Then continue.” Rain responded concisely with one sentence and headed forward again.
On the second floor, Unrivaled placed himself in the center of an extremely spacious room. Like the parlor, this room’s windows were long and narrow and were positioned unusually high: quite a distance from the inky oak floors. A crimson glint shot in from the window and was just enough to illuminate the comparatively conspicuous things in the room. But he didn’t know how or where such light could have come from in the middle of the night.
Even Unrivaled, using his first-rate eyesight to the maximum, could not see the room’s fairly distant corners, nor the curved lines and concave patterns of the coffered ceiling. Of course, he didn’t really care for these details; so what did it matter if he could see them? He only needed to know whether there were monsters in the corners.
Thick drapes hung on the four surrounding walls. All the furniture laid dilapidated, still carrying some air of grandeur some from archaic era–but obviously impractical, hardly comfortable. With the aged items lay heaps of books and musical instruments, yet they were unable to bring even the slightest liveliness into the room. It seemed possible to breathe some of the sorrow that lingered in the air. An eerie, heavy, melancholic atmosphere hovered everywhere, permeating the space.
Unrivaled glanced at the menu after he heard the mission notification. His first thought was that the two female players found something in the mansion, thus triggering a side mission. He didn’t believe that this mission was discovered by those other three neophytes.
Though he was not good at solving riddles at all, Unrivaled was still a professional player in any case; his deductive abilities were no good, but he had some experience.
He first did a rough search of the room looking to find equipment, consumables or anything of use. Unfortunately, the only things in the room that could be picked up and brandished were a wooden guitar and a violin with snapped strings. He was better off using his naked fists to pound monsters than these weak wooden items; his Title【Reckless Brawler】granted a passive ability that increased the destructive force of his fists.
Unable to find equipment, Unrivaled then started to look for mission related items. He had no idea what “The Haunted Palace” was and no interest in picking up all the scattered books on the floor for a read through. He just headed to the thing in the room that was most likely to be a clue——an envelope on a desk.
All the other things in the room that were readable had either fallen or piled up on the ground. Only this envelope was still on the desk, an ink bottle held it down.
Unrivaled discovered, when he picked up the ink bottle, that some ink had gotten on the envelope and left behind a block stain; it was long since dry. He picked up the envelope, harshly blew on it, and lightly swatted it to brush off some dust. Only then did he unseal the envelope and take out the letter to start reading.
The letter was not intact, many parts of it were covered by ink stains, and the remaining parts were also quite blurred from age. The letter’s opening and signature were illegible, but judging from the content that could be read, this letter must have been written by the master of this mansion to a friend.
The writer of the letter said he had come under some “curse” and was suffering from a serious illness. He was so tormented by the mental malady that words could not express his misery. He longed to see his best and only personal friend. He hoped this friend could come stay for some time at this small dwelling; perhaps the visit would help his illness make a turn for the better.
Indeed, the nuances of the letter revealed some indications of mental disorder. Some parts of the letter were difficult to understand purely because of the writer’s trembling hand or because of incoherent sentences birthed from his unstable mind.
Although Unrivaled couldn’t make out any clues, he still retrieved the letter. Only after a final sweep through the room with his eyes did he turn around and leave.
Inside a pitch-black stone tunnel.
The light from a flashlight suddenly illuminated the small short path ahead. As soon as Feng Bujue saw the scene before him, his mouth began to blabber, “This house’s problem is pretty serious… is this Castlevania? Chaotic spaces and even has warp rooms?”
Actually a few minutes earlier, he had no intention of quietly slipping away from Lil’ Tan and Long Bro. He had only walked over to another wall in the parlor to take a closer look at a painting on the wall…