Matryoshka Off-Limits Chapter 21

Chapter 21 Night of the Ancient Castle

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Zhao Sanjie managed to render Wen Shi speechless.

What could he say? Should he just clap and praise, “Wow, you guys are amazing”?

Zhao Sanjie remained calm and said, “Let’s go, we first talked to a servant, to see if there was any way to turn these NPCs into monsters.”

“Go ahead. I fear they don’t like me.” Wen Shi shrugged off Zhao Sanjie’s doubtful look. “I had some unpleasant moments with the NPCs here.”

Still NPCs.

Zhao Sanjie didn’t believe him. “Don’t worry, I’m best at crowd control. Even in uncomfortable situations, I could manage it.”

Wen Shi had only just taken him off the list of idiots, and now he wanted to put him back there. Why do some people always enjoy making things difficult for themselves?

“Alright then. Just don’t regret it.” Wen Shi stood up, his lips parted, and three words came out: “Control, Crowd, King.”

Zhao Sanjie felt the other person was being ambiguous, but the next moment, Wen Shi took the initiative to put his arm around his shoulder, appearing like good buddies. “Big Brother, I’ll rely on you for what’s next.”

The old Big Brother left the stage, and the new Big Brother made a shining appearance.

If Zhao Sanjie knew that the person Wen Shi had called “Big Brother” before was Exiu, he might have been much more cautious.

The two of them walked out of the castle gate. The nearby maid greeted them with a polite smile.

Zhao Sanjie glanced at Wen Shi and said, “It seems like NPCs are quite friendly to you.”

Before he could finish his sentence, he felt a rushing airflow, and Wen Shi quickly leaped behind him. “Big Brother, save me!”

The male servant hidden behind the bushes rushed forward with a pair of scissors, yelling loudly. The scissors made constant crisp sounds in the air, as if the servant crazily wanted to cut off Wen Shi’s limbs and have him stand in the maze as a repentant bare tree trunk.

Faced with the maniac-like male servant, Zhao Sanjie kept retreating.

He wanted to throw Wen Shi directly away, but the latter firmly held onto his shoulder and seemed to predict that he would be thrown over the shoulder. Wen Shi kept changing positions to stay behind Zhao Sanjie.

Zhao Sanjie’s momentary panic stemmed from the bushy-bearded guy who killed players when they first entered the game.

Now, with a calmer mind, he quickly realized that something was off. The male servant’s scissors looked extraordinary, but they weren’t showing the expected effectiveness. Besides, the servant seemed weak, like recovering from a severe illness, with unsteady steps, making it difficult to harm anyone in such a state.

Zhao Sanjie was certain that it was just an emotionally-driven attack and wouldn’t pose a significant threat.

The male servant’s scissors missed Zhao Sanjie. His sole target was clear. “I’ll kill you!”

Wen Shi quickly poked out half of his head and retorted, “You were the one who said you loved me first!”

Male servant: “You’re despicable! You’re a beast!”

“You’re the despicable one! Who was the one who rushed into the flower field and clung onto my arm, not letting go?”

Zhao Sanjie, forced to play the role of a protective mother hen: “……”

What had happened between these two?

The farce of an eagle catching a chick came to an end with the appearance of the butler.

The butler stood under the eaves, his gaze fixed on the male servant, a shadow covering his entire being. “One is the master’s guest, the other is the master’s doctor. You have crossed the line.”

The enraged male servant’s hand halted mid-air, and eventually, he pulled it back. After a long moment, he glared fiercely at Wen Shi, abruptly turned around, and strode toward the direction of the maze.

The butler always fulfilled his duty and took the initiative to apologize, “I apologize for the disturbance.”

“No problem,” Wen Shi courteously inquired, “By the way, are you feeling better now?”

The butler’s face stiffened.

Coincidentally, the chef came out. He came to appreciate the player who ate his own ‘allergenic food’ in the morning and turned into a corpse. When he saw Wen Shi, his good mood vanished instantly, and he angrily questioned, “It’s you, isn’t it? Edward said we were all harmed by you!”

Edward was the name of the male servant.

Again and again, Wen Shi became thoroughly angry, “Have you ever seen a flower grow up and call a bee ‘dad’?!”

He merely got some pomegranate pollen on him, and it infected anyone he touched.

The chef angrily opened his mouth wide, “You, you…”

Taking advantage of not violating any rules and with the dual control of the butler and Zhao Sanjie, Wen Shi finally vented, “Who do you think you are? Remember this, a flower’s father will always be a flower, not a bee.”

The chef’s mouth grew wider, but he couldn’t find a word to retort.

“It makes me furious.” After cursing, Wen Shi calmed himself down and looked at Zhao Sanjie, “Big Brother, talk to them, I’ll go have a drink.”

He stormed back into the castle, slamming the door.

Zhao Sanjie, left outside, pursed his lips. After a while, he couldn’t help but ask, “What did he do?”

“You want to mock me too?” The chef’s anger targeted Zhao Sanjie entirely, his tone filled with deep resentment. “You’re Aaron’s good brother, aren’t you? I’ll remember you.”

Zhao Sanjie: “……”

After firmly closing the door, Wen Shi’s face showed no trace of anger. He transformed completely, hands in his pockets, whistling as he casually went upstairs to the study.

Anyway, with Zhao Sanjie acting as a buffer, whatever happened outside had nothing to do with him.

Xie Tangyan usually spent time in the study reading books when at the castle. Today was no exception. When he saw Wen Shi, he emerged from behind a bookshelf.

“Several more players have arrived,” Wen Shi briefly mentioned, walking to the window to observe the scene downstairs.


The lawn.

After being scolded miserably, Zhao Sanjie finally managed to send the chef away and turned his attention to the maid.

He took the initiative to help the maid carry the water to the other side. Although Zhao Sanjie had a scar on his face, his features were well-proportioned, and his well-toned muscles gave a sense of security when seen from behind. He had used an item targeted at NPCs that could emit charm, which, in the eyes of the maid, magnified everything infinitely, smoothly gaining a slight amount of favor.

“I really want to join this dreamlike wedding as soon as possible.” Zhao Sanjie naturally brought up the topic.

The maid, loyal to the castle master, nodded. “The master has been waiting for this day for a long time. It will be a grand ceremony.”

Zhao Sanjie quickly asked, “When will the church be ready for decoration?”

The maid thought for a moment and replied, “At the earliest, it will take two days.”

Zhao Sanjie suggested, “Actually, everyone can help together. After finishing their work, they can all contribute to decorating the church. To be honest, I also need to go south for some business, but it won’t take too long. However, I’m really eager to witness this wedding.”

He added, “I’m sure the Earl can’t wait to marry his bride either.”

The maid was moved by his words and seriously considered the suggestion.

The scene of the two happily conversing caught Wen Shi’s eyes from upstairs.

Xie Tangyan appeared behind him. “What do you think they are discussing?”

Wen Shi: “It’s simple. Zhao Sanjie is convincing the maid to prepare the church early, which will extend my remaining survival time.”

The castle master’s threat was no joke.

Once the church was ready, if the bride didn’t appear, he would undoubtedly die. To extend this deadline, he could only target the people setting up the church. No matter which option was chosen, Zhao Sanjie would be the biggest beneficiary.

Just like the hint “far away in the sky, but also close at hand,” it would be either his death or the maid’s, ultimately strengthening the Monster Alliance.

Wen Shi speculated that Zhao Sanjie wanted to probe and see if he had any hidden cards, trying to seize an opportunity to take it away from him.

Xie Tangyan: “Do you want me to help you kill him?”

Before Wen Shi could respond, she already knew the answer from his expression. She changed the subject and said, “These days, when I have free time, I go to the study. I’ve come across many interesting knowledge and theories.”

Wen Shi thought she might talk about topics like equality and freedom, but unexpectedly, Xie Tangyan gazed at a falling leaf being blown by the wind outside the window. The leaf spun in mid-air, resembling a butterfly.

Xie Tangyan had an extraordinary memory and directly recited an annotation from the book, “A butterfly flying in a tropical rainforest, occasionally flapping its wings, could potentially cause a tornado in a distant area two weeks later.”

Wen Shi: “The butterfly effect.”

Xie Tangyan nodded. “It’s the most intriguing theory I’ve come across recently.”

The book also mentioned that practice is the sole criterion for testing truth,. She was ready to put it into practice.

Wen Shi had a feeling that Xie Tangyan was plotting something significant. Just as he was about to ask further, Zhao Sanjie on the lawn seemed to sense something and looked up.

Wen Shi quickly moved to hide behind the wall to warn Xie Tangyan, but she had already disappeared. He went downstairs from the other side, took a drink of water, and reappeared outside.

“Big Brother, did you talk to an NPC?”

Zhao Sanjie’s head almost exploded when he heard Wen Shi calling him “Big Brother.”

He discreetly scrutinized Wen Shi. After the loud shouting, his hoarse voice returned to its pleasant tone, and his somewhat dry lips became moist again, showing that he indeed went to take a drink of water just now.

“I didn’t stay to avoid affecting your performance,” Wen Shi added, emphasizing that he wasn’t intentionally slacking off.

Only then did Zhao Sanjie nod and respond, “These NPCs can be killed. Only when NPCs and players have a deep connection can they engage in relatively profound conversations.”

On this point, Zhao Sanjie didn’t lie. NPCs weren’t so talkative before.

The maid’s workload in the morning was not much. After wiping the iron door, she called others to help decorate the church upstairs.

Even the butler went to assist, not just the male servant who trimmed the maze.

Zhao Sanjie pretended to worry. “With so many people going, the church will be decorated quickly.”

As he hoped, Wen Shi frowned.

Zhao Sanjie whispered, “Don’t worry too much. These servants were our targets from the beginning, so eliminating them will be a two-fold benefit.”

Wen Shi shook his head. “I’ll think about it some more.”

Zhao Sanjie didn’t expect him to hesitate on this matter.

Wen Shi offered a reasonable explanation, “The castle master is very protective of his people. Killing them might lead to retaliation.”

Zhao Sanjie continued to persuade, “It doesn’t matter. If you can’t find the bride, you’ll still die at the hands of the castle master.”

In the morning, everyone present could sense the animosity the castle master had towards Wen Shi.

Wen Shi: “Let’s wait a bit longer. I can’t be sure if killing the servants is one of the death conditions.”

Zhao Sanjie gave a more sensible suggestion at the right moment, “Then let’s not kill them for now. Let’s give them some minor injuries. If it is indeed a death condition, minor injuries are within manageable range.”

Wen Shi felt like applauding him.

This person was truly wasted on not doing brainwashing tasks.

“I’ll go to the church to check it out.”

Zhao Sanjie went with him.

The church was located on the third floor. It was Wen Shi’s first time stepping inside.

It was bustling with activity inside.

To his surprise, Wen Shi even spotted A’Ling among them.

A’Ling didn’t show any awkwardness upon seeing him and naturally explained that she was on a mission. Together with the maid, they lifted a heavy object. While talking to Wen Shi, she appeared to get distracted, causing her to accidentally twist her foot and almost drop the heavy object on the maid’s foot..

“I’m sorry,” she apologized repeatedly.

The maid was still frightened but didn’t excessively blame her.

Wen Shi raised an eyebrow. This seemingly unconscious action implied that with a little manipulation, she could delay the completion of the church’s setup.

However, there was no such thing as a free lunch. A’Ling wouldn’t help without any return.

Wen Shi turned away coldly, ignoring her hints.

Zhao Sanjie, hoping he would take action, asked, “Where are you going?”

“Taking a nap.” Wen Shi pointed at his dark circles. “If I don’t sleep soon, I might drop dead first.”

Although he said he was going to take a nap, Wen Shi headed straight to the underground art studio.

It was dim and damp.

Ironically, walking here alone was slightly easier than dealing with players with sinister intentions.

Wen Shi suddenly remembered the castle master’s perplexity mentioned in the medical records—

Doctor Aaron, do you think there’s a soul in this world that has warmth?

Now, he was also curious about the answer to this question.

The art studio during the daytime should be less eerie, but today, there was an additional figure standing in front of the easel.

The woman had a stunning back; her fingernails were painted a bright red. She held a heavy and sharp cleaver in her hand.

Wen Shi calmed his mind, knowing what he was about to face.

The bride slowly turned around. In one second, she was still near the easel, and the next, she was less than half a meter away from Wen Shi. “You lied to me.”

The cleaver came down directly towards his head.

Considering the speed of the cleaver, Wen Shi had only a moment to explain, so he quickly said, “I need to destroy the spiritual essence of the painting frame.”

The cleaver stopped at a distance of 0.01 meters from his head. The coldness seemed to penetrate into his bones, but Wen Shi didn’t flinch, as if he expected the bride to stop.

Wen Shi stared into her eyes and continued, “I didn’t break my promise. I called for some friends, but unfortunately, one of them betrayed my trust and chose to help the Earl.”

The bride’s murderous intent stemmed from this. Someone among the helpers he called had sided with that damned man.

“The painting frame is in the attic. I need to know the possible obstacles during the process.”

Wen Shi never had the idea of directly rushing in to steal. It wouldn’t be so easy to complete a task in the dungeon.

“The painting frame is alive.” The real bride remained silent for a few seconds before choosing to answer him, “The craftsman, hired by the Earl, built the container to imprison me. But he was enchanted by my beauty and set me free. In his rage, the Earl killed him. Later, the craftsman’s soul was trapped in the painting frame, becoming a mindless evil spirit.”

Wen Shi suddenly remembered the structure of the painting frame, with the handle of the guillotine bearing some irregular patterns that resembled a face when combined.

The real bride: “By ‘spirit,’ it refers to the evil spirit’s ‘essence.’ If you enter, you will surely die at the hands of the evil spirit unless you can fulfill the craftsman’s wish.”

“What is the craftsman’s wish?”

“To be released.” The real bride said calmly, “Completely burn his soul, leaving nothing behind.”

With Wen Shi’s abilities, it would be impossible to achieve that.

“The candelabra in the Earl’s house can do it,” the real bride revealed a chilling smile, “but first, you have to steal the candelabra.”


Stealing from the Earl’s room? How was this any different from being a moth to a flame?

Seemingly anticipating his hesitation, the real bride approached quietly with the knife in hand.

In this brief moment of silence, Wen Shi unexpectedly smiled. So what if he had to act like a fluttering moth? He had danced with a knife’s edge before. This wouldn’t be any different.

Wen Shi looked up, gazing into the enchanting eyes of the real bride, and slowly spoke, “How about you go marry the Earl?”

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