Chapter 3 Night of the Ancient Castle
The gaunt woman’s limbs didn’t seem coordinated, and her speed wasn’t as fast as Wen Shi had thought. But she had an advantage—she never got tired and kept chasing him at a constant pace.
Wen Shi turned his head confidently, thinking about how to deal with the situation as he ran away.
While his brain was spinning along with his steps, an arm suddenly stretched from the side and yanked him forcefully.
Wen Shi’s whole body collided heavily with the wall. If he hadn’t turned his head in time, he might have broken his nose.
Catching a glimpse of the wall, Wen Shi instantly forgot the pain. He still remembered how empty it looked when he first entered the castle, but now there were at least seven or eight dark figures.
Those shadows clearly didn’t belong to him.
The walls were as thin as a layer of skin. The dark figures squeezed out half of their bodies, causing the flimsy walls to ripple and heave like waves.
Compared to the woman chasing him from behind, these creatures had slightly weaker attacks, but they could stretch out long and thin arms, ready to coil around their prey like snakes.
Wen Shi took a deep breath. “Have I been trapped by snakes?”
The only thing worth being grateful for was that the things inside the wall couldn’t come out completely. They seemed more eager to pull him into the wall.
As the wall continued to expand, the corridor was about to be compressed into a narrow passage.
As Wen Shi struggled, he felt a cold breeze coming from behind, indicating that the woman behind him was getting closer.
He made a tough decision and cut his palm with the dinner knife he had hidden in his pocket, letting the blood drip onto his white coat. Then he quickly took it off and threw it aside, tightly clenching his fist to prevent the wound on his palm from being exposed.
Whether in reality or a game, blood always had an indescribable attraction to monsters. The arm around his neck loosened slightly. Wen Shi seized the opportunity to break free from the restraint and continued to run forward.
But this couldn’t go on. The monsters could move along the wall, and being caught was only a matter of time.
“There must be a way to get out of this situation.”
Wen Shi started to observe the surroundings. Straight ahead was the hall, and to the left, there were winding stairs. Going upstairs might temporarily escape the monsters inside the wall, but he couldn’t stay on the stairs forever, or the woman would catch up to him.
When he sprinted towards the stairs, the pain stimulated his brain to work rapidly.
The monsters seemed to be saying something. Wen Shi slowed his pace slightly and managed to hear some words.
“You’ve arrived. Come and accompany us.”
“You’ve arrived. Come and accompany us.”
“You’ve arrived. Come and accompany us.”
The hoarse and painful voices repeated incessantly, as if calling for souls.
When the monsters spoke, it emitted a scent similar to having just drunk red wine.
Wen Shi suddenly realized what that strange yet familiar scent was.
There were paintings hanging in the dining room, as mentioned in the previous description. The players and the castle master had met at an art exhibition, indicating the owner’s love for art. But as he ran through the corridor, there wasn’t a single painting. The bare walls stood out starkly. Even in an ordinary house, there would be one or two paintings for decoration.
Could these monsters have come out of the paintings?
Almost at the moment this thought arose, a prompt sounded:
“Congratulations to the player for discovering the monsters’ source.”
“You drank red wine soaked with special pigments, and the monsters are angry. They will make you pay for it.”
The source of the monsters was the paintings.
Wen Shi pondered. The picture frames should be able to serve as a barrier. If he could find one, he would have a way out.
“Clues: blood pool, cross, trembling soul.”
“Clues: incantation, prayer, and safe house.”
“Clues: dance, beauty and beast!”
“Clues: it may rest in a quiet place or in the busiest spot.”
As the continuous prompt tones played without pause, Wen Shi’s expression immediately turned unpleasant. Was he supposed to send each monster back to different paintings?
Wen Shi was angry. “Can’t they coexist?”
In this chase, how could he simultaneously search for things? Furthermore, the clues indicated that each picture frame was located in different locations.
The game didn’t listen to his outcry. After the clues were over, it returned to silence.
This was clearly not a high-level skill task but rather a task to send him on his way.
Gradually, Wen Shi’s speed slowed down. A person who could usually run several kilometers could barely manage a few hundred meters today. He checked the attribute panel. His health points hadn’t decreased, but there was an additional status note.
【Health Points: 101 (You’re not sick. It’s just a momentary infusion of Yin energy, causing temporary weakness.)】
“Is red wine fermented with pigments tasty?”
Wen Shi looked grim. With time passing, this state would likely worsen. The woman behind him was getting closer to his back. In this life-or-death moment, the fear lingering in his mind somewhat diminished.
“Take a chance.” Wen Shi made up his mind and began to sprint upstairs, disregarding his safety.
Judging from the appearance of this ancient castle, it could have at least eighteen floors. However, when Wen Shi glanced up in the hall, there were only about five floors here. The staircases between each floor resembled small hills.
As he ascended, the woman hesitated for a moment but ultimately decided to continue following.
The thick wooden door had good sound insulation. A strange goat horn was stuck on it, used as a prop to capture any sound outside.
Exiu leaned against the bed, hearing the sounds of running in the corridor and noticing where the footsteps disappeared. He raised an eyebrow.
“Are you trying to lead the monsters to the castle master’s chamber and scare them away?”
If he was indeed plotting such a scheme, Exiu genuinely admired this newbie.
“What a pity.” Exiu’s mouth curved slightly.
Going to find the castle master was just another path to death.
As Exiu had speculated, Wen Shi was searching for the room of the castle master, who had mentioned that they only stayed on the second floor.
The fact that the castle master could stay safe here indicated that the monsters couldn’t harm him. It was even possible that the castle master was the creator of the monsters.
The woman’s pace slowed down, silently showing her fear of this place. Nevertheless, she didn’t give up on Wen Shi as her prey. The expansion of the walls seemed to intensify, and the lurking monsters inside seemed anxious, eager to seize the last chance to pull Wen Shi inside.
All the room doors were made of wood, except for the stone door at the end of the corridor, which was slightly taller than the other wooden doors.
The atmosphere was saturated with a suffocating pressure. Wen Shi’s legs felt as heavy as if they were weighed down by lead. Every pore on his body felt wide open, warning him that proceeding further would result in a dire consequence.
The monsters and the woman were persistent. Even though Wen Shi was almost at the stone door, there was no sign of them retreating.
“Stay away,” Wen Shi stepped back towards the end of the corridor, “You’ll regret coming closer.”
He had no way out.
Human verbal threats were like scratching an itch for ghosts and monsters. When Wen Shi finally stopped, the woman grabbed his collar. He staggered, turning half a circle until he was locked in a chokehold. The woman’s arm exerted constant pressure, and Wen Shi’s neck vertebrae were on the verge of breaking.
He tried to relieve the pressure on his neck with one hand while reaching for the animal-shaped door handle ahead with the other.
Just a little bit more. At this moment, the advantage of his long fingers came into play. Wen Shi finally managed to hook onto the door handle. He made his final threat, “You, will you let go? If not, I will.”
The woman increased her strength, preparing to completely snap his neck.
Wen Shi suddenly loosened his grip, and the door handle instantly struck downward, making a loud sound on the stone door.
The dull sound startled the woman, like a heavy blow, hitting not only her head but also the monsters.
No one expected that Wen Shi would actually knock on the door.
Unbelievable things didn’t end there. The next moment, without any warning, Wen Shi pulled her back and pushed her against the door, almost like a classic kabedon move seen in movies and TV shows.
Reality wasn’t as gentle, especially not now.
The woman only then realized that the other person’s strength was much greater than she had imagined. Compared to that, her earlier struggles were only using about seventy to eighty percent of her effort.
Wen Shi squeezed out three words in a hoarse voice. “Do not run.”
The current position was perfect. If the door suddenly opened, he wouldn’t be the one facing it directly.
For some reason, the woman kept her head lowered and her eyes down, as if fearing a frontal attack. But her eyes suddenly widened. She probably hadn’t expected someone to be shameless to this extent.
Wen Shi adopted a stance as if vowing not to let go, firmly determined to stick together for warmth.
The monsters that had gathered around scattered in panic, and the woman grabbed one of them from the wall with one hand. The monster had a flat body, easily sandwiched between Wen Shi and the woman.
“Kill him,” the woman commanded fiercely.
The monster looked confused.
Everything happened too suddenly. It hadn’t processed what was going on, but it knew it couldn’t stay here any longer. Discovering itself trapped like a sandwich, it immediately intended to kill Wen Shi.
The power of a group of monsters was terrifying, but a single one was manageable.
Entangled by the dark shadow, Wen Shi shivered from the cold realization that this situation couldn’t go on any longer. His teeth chattered as he said, “On the count of three, everyone let go.”
“One, two, three!”
No one released anyone, including Wen Shi. Instead, they pulled each other even tighter.
“Damn it!” One human and two ghosts cursed in frustration at the same time.
As they tangled in confusion, the door opened.
Under the inertia, the woman fell backward, and the monster let out a terrified howl. Wen Shi was about to let go and run.
A staff came flying through the air, precisely piercing through the woman’s neck, the monster’s brain, and Wen Shi’s heart at a tricky angle.
Dull pain spread from his chest. Wen Shi lowered his head, blood blossoming incessantly from his chest.
Spitting out large mouthfuls of blood, even in his final moments, Wen Shi didn’t forget to make an accusation: “It’s all because of you… If only you two let go.”
The castle master, disturbed from sleep, didn’t bother with the commotion. He pulled the staff out, which had missed the heart, turned around, and returned to his room to continue sleeping.
The chest with an extra hole felt empty, and the wind could be felt rushing in.
Under extreme pain, numbness took over, and Wen Shi lost all strength. He fell heavily backward.
The stone door closed, and with a pallid face, Wen Shi lay on the ground with wide-open eyes. Blood continuously flowed out from the hole in his chest. He never imagined there could be so much blood inside a human body.
Life was rapidly slipping away. His vision blurred, and he couldn’t even see the ceiling above. Before everything turned completely dark, the corners of Wen Shi’s mouth lifted slowly, the whole scene becoming twisted and morbid.
“Gambled… and won.”
The attribute panel had mentioned that as long as the monsters didn’t deliver the final blow, a sliver of health could go a long way. He believed that the castle master’s likelihood of making a follow-up attack in the night was extremely slim, just like an elephant that had firmly stepped on an ant and wouldn’t bother looking back to check if the ant was really dead.
Besides, there was someone blocking his way.
At the moment the castle master made a move, Wen Shi’s health plummeted crazily, directly dropping by a hundred, and finally firmly stuck at ‘1’.
“Hey,” he managed to call out with difficulty.
The woman lying in front of him almost had her eyeballs pop out in astonishment. How was this person not dead yet?
Wen Shi: “Brother, Sister, let’s make a bet… G-guess who will die first.”
In a breath-like state, he persisted in spitting out a complete sentence.
The monster and the woman had only one thought in their minds: if they died in front of this despicable person, they might have to suffer humiliation even in death.
They held their breath together, but unfortunately, the monster couldn’t hold on for long. The scent of pigments continuously spread and volatilized from the side. The monster struggled desperately, trying to absorb the gas back into its body. However, it became thinner and thinner, like a hydrogen balloon that would float away with the slightest breeze.
“Heh, heh,” Wen Shi managed to make two mocking syllables.
No matter how unwilling it was, the next moment, it completely disappeared from this world, dying without peace.
Wen Shi: “Just… just the two of us now.”
The hole on the gaunt woman’s neck grew larger. It eventually spread almost to the back of her head, oozing with blood.
One minute passed.
“Hey, are you still there?” Wen Shi’s eyelashes trembled.
Except for his mouth, he found it very difficult to move any other part of his body.
What was this? Was he in zombie mode?
The woman squeezed out a ‘heh’ sound, but she actually wanted to spit in disdain.
Two minutes passed.
Wen Shi: “Hey, are you still there?”
The woman couldn’t hold on any longer. She struggled to twist her stiff neck and left her final words in this world:
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