Matryoshka Off-Limits Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Night of the Ancient Castle

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All his life, he had always been the one being reasoned with, but today he found himself doing the reasoning. Wen Shi suddenly thought of an inappropriate saying: “Evil people will be dealt with by other evil people.”

His head ached. “The game emphasized its commitment to promoting truth, goodness, and beauty.”

It sounded absurd, but he felt he shouldn’t ignore it. At least, he shouldn’t break it easily. He could defend himself and strike back if attacked, but taking the initiative might lead to undesirable consequences.

“Let’s try to find some clues and solve the puzzle in a normal way.” Wen Shi lowered his head and adjusted his loose sleeves. “I like to keep my trump card until the end.”

Xie Tangyan stared at him for a few seconds, then decided to respect Wen Shi’s opinion.

“Are there any books here?”

This world, this era, felt quite unfamiliar to her, and books were the fastest means of getting information.

Wen Shi guided her to the study and cautioned, “Be careful, the study might have some dangers.”

To be precise, every corner of the ancient castle was filled with danger.

As Wen Shi spoke, he casually pulled out a book from the bookshelf and asked, “Can you read this?”

She didn’t know if there were significant differences between the language used in the place she came from and the current one.

Xie Tangyan glanced at the text and replied, “It’s mostly the same.”

Wen Shi nodded. “Alright, you can read here. I need to meet someone.”

He tidied his disheveled hair as he muttered to himself, “A gentleman won’t keep a girl waiting for long.”

Dining hall.

Luo Xiao leaned back in the tall chair, resting one hand on her cheek, while the other idly drew circles on the table.

The wall clock ticked with the passing time, making her feel restless.

“Why is it taking so long?”

Luo Xiao glanced at the clock for the third time, wondering if something unexpected happened. Perhaps the sealed entity in the coffin was too powerful, and both of them were stuck there?

If that were the case, it might actually be better. The fewer remaining players in the game, the lower the difficulty would be.

“Were you waiting for me?”

When the voice sounded, Luo Xiao didn’t react for a moment, then incredulously jerked her head up.

Concealing emotions was her forte, but at this moment, the astonishment in her expression was fully displayed on her face.

“Pei Wenwei?!” Luo Xiao stood up from the chair in shock.

“You seem very surprised.”

It was more than just surprise.

She was shockingly surprised!

Wen Shi came back, not Exiu, which most likely meant the other person had met his end. Luo Xiao’s hand, previously in her pocket, was gripping the game-specific communication device. She had planned to wait a few more minutes and then contact Exiu if Wen Shi didn’t return. But now, seeing Wen Shi standing at the door with a smiling face, she quickly switched to a weapon for self-preservation.

For the first time in history, she felt fear towards a newbie.

Luo Xiao didn’t think Wen Shi could defeat Exiu and return solely by luck.

“Fifty points,” Luo Xiao quickly regained her composure and said sternly, “I want to know what happened, and any grudges between us will be settled.”

Wen Shi was taken aback. This woman was adaptable. In the absence of knowing what cards he held, she directly showed a reconciliatory attitude.

He held up one finger, “One hundred.”

Luo Xiao was about to speak, but Wen Shi interrupted, “A hundred points is a friendly price. Don’t take advantage of me being a newbie who doesn’t understand the market.”

A hundred points were definitely affordable for the other party, and within her acceptable range. If it was a bit more, there would be no need for reconciliation.

Luo Xiao didn’t negotiate further and asked Wen Shi to provide his player ID.

Facing his suspicious expression, Luo Xiao sneered, “For the transaction, we need to use player IDs.”

One minute later, Wen Shi heard a notification sound.

“Player 397426 has transferred a hundred points to you.”

The attributes panel updated simultaneously.

“You have successfully completed a transaction. The game store has been activated.”

It was an unexpected delight.

Wen Shi didn’t possess the virtue of keeping promises, but he kept a straight face and made up a lie, “Exiu released something from the coffin, and for some reason, that bloody bride is relentlessly chasing after him.”

Upon hearing this, Luo Xiao’s expression changed, “Could it be…”

Wen Shi prompted, “Could it be what?”

Luo Xiao responded with a question, “Cooperate? I’m serious this time. If we join forces to deal with the other player, the game difficulty will be further reduced.”

Wen Shi glanced at her and replied, “I won’t attack unless provoked.”

Hearing this, Luo Xiao felt somewhat reassured. If he agreed, then the previous hundred points would not have been in vain. At least, this newbie seemed to have decent character.

It was probably a characteristic unique to new players, naive and romantic in their foolishness.

“Don’t think of me as ruthless. After spending a long time in the instance…”

“Luo Xiao, Big Sister, I’m not interested in your psychological journey.” Wen Shi placed the frame he obtained from the book on the table, inspecting the painting with a neutral expression. “But I advise you, intelligence can sometimes lead to miscalculations.”

Neither side believed they could truly convince the other, so neither wasted much effort arguing. Wen Shi’s attention was entirely focused on the painting, where the trapped monster had become an integral part of the artwork. He didn’t look up as he asked, “What do you know?”

Luo Xiao shook her head. “You might think I’m lying, but I really don’t know much. In fact, the game misled us from the start. We thought we had to assemble the perfect bride through piecing together parts. Until we successfully assembled her…”

Wen Shi looked up.

Luo Xiao sighed, “As soon as the bride took form, she launched a frenzied massacre against us without any warning. We didn’t have time to find her weak points. In the end, I and a few other surviving players worked together to seal the monster in the empty coffin in the blood pool.

“It was at that moment we realized something—the piecing method would only create a blood bride that didn’t meet the requirements. Before us, there must have been others who tried the same, and those killed by the blood bride would transform into new monsters, each with an organ mutation of extraordinary beauty, deceiving the next group of players who confronted them.

“She prioritized targeting Exiu, probably holding a grudge from when we sealed her together,” Luo Xiao explained.

Wen Shi was surprised to hear this additional part of the story. “If she was sealed, why did she need to be released again? Just to kill me?”

Luo Xiao replied, “Exiu had no other choice. If things went smoothly, he and I would have been enough to defend ourselves. The sealed blood bride’s power had weakened. With some players dying in the final stage, the instance would issue side quests more closely related to the main plot. Once we completed the quest, we would find clues about the real blood bride.”

“I see.” Wen Shi was more interested in the latter point and extracted the key information, “So there is more than one blood bride in the castle?”

The woman who chased him last night must have been one of them.

However, the light was too dim last night, and he vaguely remembered that the woman was wearing a black veil.

Without needing Luo Xiao’s answer, the game confirmed it.

【Congratulations to the player for completing Side Quest One一

Quest Reward: Scented Sachet *1 (works like a lucky charm, probably).】

【Blood Bride Codex: She is an artificially created blood bride who often roams at night. Oh, and there’s more than one of her.】

The character in the codex was depicted so vividly that it seemed like a 3D projection in Wen Shi’s mind. It was quite thrilling.

Wen Shi was a results-oriented person, so when he saw the reward was a scented sachet, he couldn’t help but feel amused and exasperated. Was he destined to be associated with safety and lucky charms in this lifetime?

Unaware of Wen Shi’s thoughts, Luo Xiao nodded and asked, “We’ve explored most of the castle. Now, only the church, the vacant room, and the attic are left. Do you want to take a look?”

To her surprise, Wen Shi declined. He looked at the neat long table and asked, “Besides us, have we seen any other living people in the castle? Who is responsible for the daily meals and cleanliness?”

“There are also the butler, chef, and servants,” Luo Xiao replied. “The butler rarely shows up. The male servant is responsible for trimming the maze outside during the day, and the maid generally handle the cleaning work. There’s a separate area behind the castle where they live.”

Wen Shi: “Is it because they fear that if they live in the castle and die, there won’t be anyone to do the work?”

Luo Xiao: “……”

He saw through it, but she didn’t expose it.

Wen Shi: “By the way, do you have any main quests?”

Up until now, he had only received one side quest, and he couldn’t grasp the overall direction of his actions.

Luo Xiao looked puzzled as she asked, “Don’t you have any?”

Wen Shi waited for her answer first.

After careful consideration, Luo Xiao said, “In my storyline, after the gathering, we all went to the art gallery together and met the castle master there. He invited us to attend the wedding. Because of his noble identity, I happily accepted, but after coming here, I realized things weren’t as simple as I imagined.

“As for the main quest, it’s naturally to escape from the castle,” Luo Xiao said with a hint of frustration and helplessness. “This cursed place, it’s not that easy to get out.”

Regular footsteps echoed in the corridor, interrupting their conversation.

Wen Shi and Luo Xiao simultaneously looked up and stepped back, assuming defensive positions.

After a moment, the butler they mentioned earlier appeared at the door. He was not young, with gray hair at the temples. Since the castle master wore a tailcoat, the butler opted for a dark green suit, with slightly worn fabric but not a single wrinkle.

“Dr. Aaron, I heard you injured your foot, so a carriage has come to pick you up.” 

Realizing he was being called, Wen Shi curiously asked, “Pick me up?”

The butler smiled. “You should return to the hospital.”

Wen Shi was taken aback and looked at Luo Xiao. “Well, that seems quite easy.”

Not only could he leave, but there was also a carriage waiting for him.

Luo Xiao: “……”

Wen Shi didn’t rush to leave. “I left something in my room. Wait here, I’ll go get it.”

When he went upstairs, Wen Shi browsed the in-game store and saw that the items on the homepage were all priced in the thousands, far beyond what his meager points could afford.

Wen Shi selected a price range to see what he could buy with his current points. After a quick scan, he finally placed an order for the “Little Gourd” priced at fifty points.

【Little Gourd: Conceals the user’s aura, a must-have for escape and travel.

Friendly reminder: It can make NPCs unable to sense your presence, but it doesn’t mean they can’t see you, hehe~】

This item wasn’t of much use to Wen Shi, but Xie Tangyan could make good use of it.

He arrived at the study and after searching around, Xie Tangyan suddenly appeared from behind him.

“Is there something you need?”

Wen Shi was startled. After quickly regaining his composure, he handed the little gourd to her, explaining its purpose briefly.

“I need to temporarily leave this place for a moment.”

Wen Shi initially thought of inviting her along, but recalling the near encounter with the monster by the streetlight when they first arrived, he decided to go alone.

Xie Tangyan seemed to like the gift he gave. She smiled while reminding him to “be careful.”

She didn’t insist on accompanying him, which made Wen Shi feel somewhat uneasy.

Wen Shi asked tentatively, “You’ll be okay, right?”

Xie Tangyan nodded.

“Are you sure?”

Xie Tangyan: “I’m sure.”

The butler was already urging him downstairs. Wen Shi couldn’t delay any longer, so he hurriedly went downstairs.

Behind him, Xie Tangyan touched the sword hilt, looking at the majestic self-portrait of the castle master opposite the study, lost in thought. After a while, she mused, “He might be a decent sparring partner.”

Downstairs, before leaving, Wen Shi asked Luo Xiao, “Do you want me to take you out? It’s only 999 points.”

The butler seemed not to hear the second part of the sentence and replied solemnly, “You cannot take the master’s guests away.”

“Oh.” Wen Shi shrugged and changed his wording to Luo Xiao, “Then just watch me leave.”

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