Chapter 13.1 Night of the Ancient Castle
Luo Xiao found herself unexpectedly added to an assassination blacklist. Despite trying to stay composed, she couldn’t help but feel a trace of anger.
She refused to admit it, but there was a sense of fear growing in her mind towards the newbie. Ever since Exiu’s death, everything gradually went out of her control.
Fear made Luo Xiao lose her composure for a moment. She closed her eyes tightly, trying to adjust her mindset.
The atmosphere became icy cold.
The three of them walked towards the underground art studio.
On the way, Peng Lu wanted to talk about the hospital. Normally, players wouldn’t venture too far from the main map, even if they had other roles. Peng Lu thought it was strange, but whenever he tried to speak, Wen Shi interrupted him completely.
The underground floor had twice as many candles as the blood pool. The ceiling was low, the damp and gloomy smell filling their nostrils. The walls on both sides were thick, and at the end of the narrow passage was a semi-circular arch covered with a lot of mold.
There was no lock.
Wen Shi raised an eyebrow. It was like putting up a sign at the entrance saying, “Welcome, come steal.”
The castle master truly upheld the principle of keeping doors open day and night in every corner.
Dirty cans of paint were casually placed next to the easel. The wind blowing through the wall seams made the paper squeak. Peng Lu checked and confirmed that they were just regular paints.
Wen Shi walked to the mentioned paint cabinet by the butler. The cabinet was bigger than expected, about two meters tall, and still unlocked. Inside, there were faint squeaking sounds. As Wen Shi sidestepped and opened the cabinet door, a shadow darted out. Being prepared, he managed to avoid it easily.
A palm-sized little mouse fell heavily on the ground, with half of its fur rotten and emitting a stench. There were a few more mice inside the cabinet. They had no trace of healthy flesh on them, their mouths stained with crimson paint.
The mice’s bodies were completely frozen. Wen Shi deduced that it was due to Yin energy entering their bodies. He had once drunk wine mixed with the paint and experienced the same condition.
The mice must have been very hungry. They directly nibbled on the pure paint.
Suddenly, Wen Shi thought of two words: “entrapment operation.”
The castle master was powerful, but also constrained in many ways. If he wanted to kill someone, he couldn’t do it casually.
The identity of a “thief” was enough for him to handle the situation.
The blood bride should know the consequences of stealing paint. She must have been unable to resist the temptation of those paints. However, she was clever enough to take only a small amount, not to the extent that the castle master would take direct action, which was why she tasked the butler.
After confirming that the blood bride would come here to steal paint, they naturally needed to set up in advance.
Peng Lu asked Luo Xiao to fetch a clean bowl of water to make talisman water, which would be mixed into the paint. Whenever the blood bride used the paint, her strength would be weakened.
Luo Xiao quickly returned with the water. Peng Lu had completed the initial preparations, and everything was ready. He needed to complete a massive demon-subduing array. Luo Xiao followed closely behind him, carefully sprinkling herbal powder along the patterns of the array. After the powder was absorbed, the array patterns shimmered for a moment and then sank into the ground.
The veteran players’ methods left others amazed.
Wen Shi silently observed from the side.
“During the same task, the game will settle based on individual contributions.” Drawing the array consumed a lot of energy, and coupled with the injuries from Bushy Beard, Peng Lu’s face was as pale as paper. Then, he lit the talisman paper, mixed the burning ashes with water, and further blended it with the paint.
The implication was that even if Wen Shi received the task again, it wouldn’t be of much use.
This was Peng Lu’s last concession. If Wen Shi could explain the ins and outs of the assassination blacklist clearly, he would be willing to delegate some of the work to him.
Wen Shi leaned against the wall and raised an eyebrow, “What if I refuse and focus on causing trouble?”
“Go ahead,” Peng Lu encouraged, seemingly not worried at all.
Wen Shi looked at him intently for a few seconds, then suddenly smiled, turned around, and left the art studio. Since the clean water wasn’t enough, Luo Xiao also came out with him. Now that they had torn their faces apart, no one bothered with each other.
Both parties headed to the kitchen as their destination. Wen Shi patiently asked the chef if there was any help needed, but Luo Xiao, who was observing secretly, lost interest, knowing this was an attempt to acquire information about death rules related to food.
After Luo Xiao left, Wen Shi couldn’t help but curl up the corners of his mouth.
He was happy, really happy.
Wen Shi could faintly smell the unusual fragrance on himself, almost imperceptible to players and regular NPCs, but judging from the castle master and Bushy Beard’s avoidance, NPCs seemed more sensitive to this scent. The blood bride was likely no exception.
If he lurked near the art studio, he would undoubtedly be discovered.
“There’s more than one blood bride.”
No matter how powerful Luo Xiao and the others were, they couldn’t deal with all of them.
As it turned into a multi-person task, the difficulty increased. Otherwise, the task information wouldn’t suggest cooperation as the best solution, which undoubtedly involved luring away most of the blood brides.
The male player seemed skilled at dealing damage and drawing arrays, so he was suitable to stay behind. Luo Xiao excelled at calculations and wouldn’t be willing to take risks in luring enemies. Most importantly, both sides were injured by Bushy Beard.
In this situation, they would undoubtedly think about the “eastern diversion of disaster,” like making themselves take on the “heavy burden.”
“Keep it up,” Wen Shi silently cheered them on, “You must succeed in luring them away.”
As long as he could make the blood bride come to him willingly, things would become much simpler.
While Wen Shi was busy in the kitchen, a small white mouse, Little White, was moving silently.
If Wen Shi were present, he would surely recognize this lifelike white mouse. Luo Xiao had used it in the study to find the book “Beauty and the Beast.”
Little White, like a small detective, smoothly climbed into Wen Shi’s room through the window, carefully searching every corner. Finally, it found a strand of hair near the bed.
With the hair curled up in its tail, Little White swiftly scurried back to report.
Luo Xiao was still underground, helping to hide the array. Little White climbed onto her shoulder, showing off its success.
Luo Xiao took out a small cloth doll. All she had to do was stuff the hair into the doll’s mouth at night.
Her skill was 【Fabric Crafting】 and with the necessary materials, there was a chance to successfully create an 【Aggro Doll】. As the name suggests, it was a prop that could attract the aggression value of monsters. The 【Aggro Doll】 only worked in specific scenarios, such as when both sides accidentally attracted the attention of monsters simultaneously without violating the rules, or when they accepted the same task, and the other party would become the priority target of the monster’s attacks.
Peng Lu said indifferently, “This shouldn’t be your highest level of Fabric Crafting.”
Luo Xiao’s skill had been exposed a long time ago, and it wasn’t a secret among players.
Luo Xiao: “It’s enough for now.”
Peng Lu shook his head. “You forgot one thing. Tonight, the castle master will reassign the person to search for the real bride.”
Holding the doll, Luo Xiao’s hand stiffened. Assuming Pei Wenwei could survive the pursuit and escape unscathed, the person assigned to him would most likely be in deep trouble.
She had a hate attractor doll that indiscriminately drew aggro, and there were no restrictions on its usage. However, it was a lifesaving talisman.
Luo Xiao frowned. “Firstly, a newbie couldn’t possibly escape the blood bride’s pursuit. Secondly, after completing the special task, there will be feedback from the main task, and finding the real bride shouldn’t be difficult. This one-in-a-million chance isn’t worth wasting two 【Aggro Dolls】.”
Peng Lu: “It’s up to you then.”
Anyway, his luck was one level higher than the other person’s. Even if the castle master wanted to assign someone, the probability of it being Peng Lu was much lower than Luo Xiao’s turn.
After struggling for a moment, Luo Xiao said hesitantly, “But let’s assume the castle master might assign Pei Wenwei tonight.”
Peng Lu: “Did a donkey kick your head?”
“Pei Wenwei has the identity of a doctor. You don’t need any special means. The castle master is unlikely to choose him until the very end.”
This was the best protective color for newbies in the endgame.
If he had a choice, Peng Lu wouldn’t want to get involved with Luo Xiao at all. This person was quite clever, like intercepting tasks, but lacked strong judgment in critical matters.
Luo Xiao gritted her teeth, suppressing any lingering hope, and finally took out the advanced 【Aggro Doll】.
The castle master always attended breakfast and dinner, making these occasions a dangerous situation that players could not avoid throughout the day.
Especially during dinner.
Tonight, there was another battle to fight, but the delicious food on the long table didn’t tempt anyone. Luo Xiao’s gaze occasionally glanced towards the door, wondering why Wen Shi hadn’t come yet.
Peng Lu also frowned.
This newbie wouldn’t be foolish enough to skip dinner.
Thump, thump, thump, thump.
Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.
What was that sound?
Turning her head, she discovered a face pressed against the windowpane. Even the most handsome face couldn’t withstand the dim moonlight with such close proximity to the window.
“The door, it’s locked.” The window wasn’t open, but the clear voice managed to come in faintly.
Not long ago, Wen Shi had gone out to hide something and when he returned, he found that he couldn’t get back inside.
The butler’s voice suddenly appeared from behind, startling Wen Shi, who almost threw a punch.
The lawn had a small dining table set up, with a few dishes on it. The butler spoke, “The master said, for tonight…”
The last two words were too soft that Wen Shi couldn’t hear clearly. “What?”
The butler raised his voice, “A picnic tonight!”
As the butler spoke, the curtains in the dining room were drawn, covering the only window.
Wen Shi had intended to make the Earl experience the process of being sown with seeds, seeking revenge for the past heartache. However, it seemed the Earl had no intention of sitting at the same table.
After giving instructions, the butler left. He wasn’t feeling well today and wanted to go back and rest early.
“Can you let me in, please?” Wen Shi knocked on the window, unwilling to give up.
No one paid attention to him.
Wen Shi glanced at the distant dining table, where there was no one around except for the night breeze.
“Is there no one to supervise me while I eat?”
There could be death rules hidden in the food.
“Not even one person?”
The voice drifted in the air, moonlight shining on his shoulder, and indeed, there was no one around.
Wen Shi resignedly walked to the lawn and finally sat at the lonely small table.
Inside and outside the dining room, happiness and sorrow did not connect.
Luo Xiao and Peng Lu were still carefully selecting edible food. Luo Xiao couldn’t concentrate at all. The castle master made it clear that he disliked Pei Wenwei but didn’t assign him to choose the real bride. Instead, he was sent outside as if he were some disgusting virus.
She didn’t know that even if the castle master disliked Wen Shi, he couldn’t possibly assign him.
After all, who would let their chosen bride get close to a “walking pollinator”?
“Stranger, I’ll entrust you to find the most perfect bride from now on.” The castle master calmly spoke, like a snake spewing venom, every word carried a poisonous intent.
He designated Luo Xiao.
“Also, please sit further away.”
The castle master pointed to the end of the long table.
These two individuals had interacted with Doctor Aaron during the day and, in his eyes, they were already suspicious.
Luo Xiao and Peng Lu were totally puzzled, but with no other choice, they could only sit down.
Luo Xiao was restless the entire time.
Once certain things slipped out of control, everything on the board could change.
Peng Lu had to steady her and whispered, “Things have come to this point. The evening task is crucial. If we’re lucky, we might get the clue together and bring about the funeral.”
Luo Xiao took a deep breath. That was right, if the plan went smoothly, they could still delay for another day, and tonight’s clue was extremely important.
After dinner, the castle’s doors opened again.
Wen Shi didn’t rush out. He guarded the lonely table, playing with the utensils on it.
After a moment, he softly murmured, “This works too.”
Originally, Wen Shi had planned for an alternative tactic if Luo Xiao and the others didn’t lead the blood bride to him. Now, with things as they were, the person designated to search for the bride would go to any lengths to bring about the funeral in the castle.
They sat there until midnight directly.
As the night breeze grew colder, Wen Shi took out what he had hidden in the bushes, continuing his preparations.
Not far from the underground entrance inside the castle.
Peng Lu and Luo Xiao were already squatting here in advance.
Except for players who had no choice but to do the task, no one wanted to come out at this time. At night, everything in the castle seemed to come alive, and the granular texture on the wallpaper appeared like pores breathing of some creature.
After waiting for about twenty minutes, a sharp scream suddenly came from underground.
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