The Uncanny Valley Traveling Guide - Chapter 14
Song of Despair (14)
Mu Tuo said decisively, “Let me do the night patrol on the first night. Who will join me?”
His eyes reflected the jumping candle light, and he looked extremely resolute. At this time, it’s unknown whether it’s a hallucination or otherwise, but there were countless rustling sounds in the distant forest outside the house, as if some non-human creatures lurking in the dark would burst out at any time and smother this hazy flame that symbolizes vitality.
His fighting ability may not be as high as that of Wen Zheliu and He Qin, but in the few times everyone spent together, he has always played the role of an organizer, like a clumsy but reliable big brother. He surprised Zhou Qing by offering to take the night patrol on the first night. “Brother Mu, you’re… ”
Mu Tuo didn’t hide it either. He took something out of his inventory and put it on the table. Wen Zheliu saw that it was the candlestick-shaped item that Mu Tuo got from the novice turntable.
This candlestick seems to be made of brass, with a simple shape and an old color. There are seven separate lamps on it. The middle one is obviously higher than the six branches on both sides. The lamps are hollow and empty without any candles. It was the first time for Wen Zheliu to carefully observe this item, and he couldn’t help but blurt out, “Seven-branch candlesticks.”
He Qin nodded and said, in an encouraging tone, “Yes, it’s the seven-branched candlestick. The middle one represents the Sabbath1, and the other six represent the six days when God created the world. This item has a very strong religious touch.”
Mu Tuo said to the players, “Look at its item properties again.”
Since the owner of the item had already spoken, Wen Zheliu took a curious glance.
[Item Name: Empty Candlestick (Incomplete)]
[Activation type: instant activation]
[Cooling time: 12 hours]
[Attack Power: Low]
[Effect: When all seven candles are lit, the equipment will illuminate the space with a radius of 3-5 meters, lasting for 7 hours, and have a chance to expel non-human creatures at a certain intensity for players within the range.]
[Equipment Level: 5]
[Item introduction: After seven days, the light will last forever, and there is nothing else in the world except the fragrance of olive trees.]
“You mean…” Wen Zheliu reacted instantly: “Marianne just mentioned the reward of a few candle heads; is it likely to be the key item that completes your item?”
Mu Tuo said, “That’s right, so I need the side rewards for the first night.”
“Then I’ll go with you.” After a moment of silence, Zhou Yao stood up. “The attack power of the item I drew is not bad; the two of us can take care of each other.”
“Brother!” Zhou Qing exclaimed in shock.
“In any case, I need to remind you all of one thing.” He Qin interjected, “You all heard the system prompt earlier.”
As soon as these words came out, Mu Tuo, Zhou Qing, Zhou Yao, Du Zijun, and others couldn’t help but look at him.
“It’s worth noting that this mode may seem cumbersome, but it’s actually a mode that only works in the Uncanny Valley. As the difficulty of the world increases in the later stages, the more effective it will be in divorcing players from each other.” He Qin said solemnly, “After starting the survival mode, what would you do if a player begged for your help? Helping them would be of no benefit except to waste your own resources and energy because you can’t guarantee that they will return the favor. If you don’t help them, maybe you can reduce the difficulty of the world and increase your chances of survival, and the items they dropped might also be yours. So will you help them or not?”
Xiong Lin scratched his head and said with a frown, “Then according to you, of course, it’s better not to help….”
“That’s what it, or she, is trying to achieve.” He Qin said, “No matter how much the difficulty is reduced, as long as there’s only one player left at the end, you can’t rely on one person to fight against the will of an entire intelligent world. If we go on killing each other like this, we’ll only get the result of a total defeat caused by infighting. We can’t win without uniting.”
Mu Tuo thought for a moment: “What you mean is… to help each other as much as possible and maintain the number of players? Good ……I understand.”
Just when everyone was pondering the final outcome of He Qin’s words, Du Zijun raised her eyelids and stared at He Qin through the flickering candlelight.
“Who exactly are you?” She exhaled a smoke ring with a grim expression: “Your true identity must not be any ordinary player at all.”
Wen Zheliu raised his head abruptly. He didn’t know whether to feel shocked by this woman’s keen intuition or to complain about her bizarre personality…
By the way, why is she smoking again? Where did the cigarette come from?!
He Qin was unmoved; the corners of his raised eyes showed a sharp, cold light, “Oh? Why did Miss Du say that?”
“Ordinary players can’t perceive such a far-reaching intention in a short period of time.” Her slender, white fingers were holding an equally slender lady’s cigarette. The smoke was lingering and blurring her grim frown, “What’s more, when those two died tragically on top of that, you and your little friend didn’t react much and seem to have adapted very well.”
“And your skills… The kid named Wen Di is just fighting by relying on his quick reactions, but you are different,” she said bluntly, “Since you’re an item summoned by this little friend, theoretically speaking, your level can’t surpass his, but according to your performance, the shackles of the level don’t have any impact on you at all.”
Her words have substance, and her attitude is firm. Players who were skeptical about He Qin’s origin all turned their attention to him.
He Qin laughed. He looked at Du Zijun, and his expression suddenly became a little weird.
“It’s okay to tell you guys this,” he said, averting his gaze, “Yes, I am a staff member during the Uncanny Valley closed beta.”
Wen Zheliu was silent, just listening quietly.
“Is what you said true?!”
As soon as these words came out, the players almost rose from their seats in an uproar, and Du Zijun also raised her eyebrows in surprise. Several men even pushed away their chairs and stood up, asking, “Are you a GM?”
He Qin smiled lazily and gave them a calm look: “You’re thinking too much. There can’t be a GM here now that there’s a Saint Nun covering the sky in the Uncanny Valley. At most, I can only be regarded as an employee who knows some inside information, but I have no way to execute my authority as an administrator.”
“Everyone, calm down!” Mu Tuo stood up and suppressed a few players who were unusually emotional, and he said sincerely to He Qin, “Brother He Qin, since you know a little bit of the inside story, can you reveal it to us? After all, we all know very little about the world now; if you could tell us a little more…”
He Qin avoided talking and looked back at the old-fashioned clock hanging on the wall, “But I think we’ve wasted too much time; it’s already time for the night patrol.”
Mu Tuo’s expression was a little surprised, and Wen Zheliu finally said, “Brother Mu, Brother Zhou, the side quest is more important at present. My brother and I won’t go anywhere. Everyone has been tired for a whole day, so it’s best if we rest early and talk about it tomorrow. What do you think?”
Zhou Yao said: “That’s true; everyone must be tired after running around all day…”
He Qin stood up with Wen Zheliu and said, “Don’t doubt my identity or my purpose; now, good night everyone.”
Back in the room, He Qin put down the candlestick and turned to look at Wen Zheliu.
His deep facial features glistened under the dim yellow light, and his eyes seemed to hold a thousand stars rippling under them. Wen Zheliu felt an indescribable attraction, he held his breath and turned his eyes slightly.
Fortunately, He Qin did not continue their unfinished topic but asked him directly: “How is it? What did you find?”
Wen Zheliu’s heart was relieved; he exhaled, looked up at the man in front of him again, and asked, “Why didn’t you finish your sentence before?”
There was a small desk in the room with only one chair under it. He Qin sat on the edge of the bed, patted the seat next to him, and motioned for Wen Zheliu to sit down.
“Because it’s weird.” He Qin stated.
“What’s so weird?” Wen Zheliu suddenly became interested and said, “Don’t say it; let me think about it.”
He Qin looked at him with a smile. Wen Zheliu carefully pondered over it and slowly selected his wording: “First, I think the deaths of Lu Hai and Lin Fangfei are strange.”
“What are the conditions for triggering the monster, and why were the two of them killed? Was it just because they were standing at the front of the group?”
“Second, I think the game’s settings are weird.”
“Since the monsters can appear in the daytime, it proves that they aren’t afraid of light; if so, why would they be afraid of fire? If they’re afraid of the heat of the flame, then why do players need to patrol the night? With a little kerosene and a few lit iron barrels fixed around the cottage, plus ensuring that the fire won’t go out all night—I can think of at least ten ways to protect the safety of this cottage. What is the meaning of this side quest that the player must go out?”
“Third, I think there’s something odd about Marianne. But there’s so little information now that I can’t tell what’s odd about her.”
Wen Zheliu frowned: “That’s about it for now. When Brother Mu and the others finish their night patrol, maybe we’ll know more…”
As he was talking, he inadvertently saw He Qin staring into his eyes, so he stopped abruptly.
This smiling, proud, and loving look was like a flame that burned his heart with fiery heat, and this passion almost immediately turned into a steaming mist, flowing down his blood vessels throughout his body.
“You said it well; I’m proud of you.” “Then let’s discuss it together,” He Qin said, reaching out and rubbing the back of Wen Zheliu’s neck until he was numb and almost trembling. “Actually, the cause of Lu Hai and Lin Fangfei’s deaths can be guessed by normal people with a little research…”
“It’s because Lin Fangfei didn’t want her self-defense weapon, and Lu Hai threw away his own weapon in order to save her.” Wen Zheliu said, “The only difference between them and others is this.”
“In this way, although Du Zijun’s identity is still unknown, she is very smart.” He Qin raised his eyebrows slightly and said with a smile, “She immediately figured this out and told Lu Hai to hurry up and pick up his weapon…”
Wen Zheliu made a helpless gesture: “But it’s too late; he’s still dead.”
“Then let’s assume that they triggered the death condition because they abandoned their weapons.” He Qin said, “But can we make another assumption?”
He Qin stroked the sheet with his fingertips and said, “If the system’s purpose is to give players a downer at the very beginning, so that we can see how powerful the boss is, then just pick anyone to kill, but the monster’s goal is very clear; it’s the Lu Lin couple, and the reason for killing them is extremely reckless. Is there any use for weapons at this stage other than self-defense? Just because they threw away their weapons, they were subject to such tragic killings. This is too illogical, unlike the plot that N-Star can design.”
“You mean…” Wen Zheliu slowly widened his eyes. With the bonus attribute of the [Companion], he and He Qin seemed to have a heart-to-heart connection, and could immediately understand each other’s meaning, “Their death has another purpose?”
He Qin applauded: “Smart.”
The fog in his mind was dispelled by He Qin, and the joy of solving the puzzle exploded like fireworks. Wen Zheliu couldn’t wait to pick up where He Qin left off and said, “Yes, it makes sense! The cause of their death was indeed too hasty. It seems that the system must make them die, so it randomly found a reason. If I have to say it, the purpose of their deaths is to draw out the two game modes of the Uncanny Valley! Looking at it this way, the deaths of Lu and Lin are almost like …like…”
He opened his mouth only to feel a stalk in his throat, and he couldn’t speak any more.
“—It’s like a one-time consumption item designed for the plot, isn’t it?” He Qin said softly.
Wen Zheliu stopped talking. All kinds of unbelievable and terrifying conjectures kept circling in his heart. After a long time, he asked with difficulty, “So… are they real players or NPCs like Marianne, or something entirely different?”
“We’ll talk about this later; it’s fine.” Seeing that he was a little scared, He Qin reassured him, “As for the second and third oddities you mentioned, there is no way to verify them now. We can only wait until tomorrow. I didn’t finish my sentence because I wanted to see the side quest rewards for the next day to prove these strange things you said.”
Wen Zheliu asked, “So …… what are the words you didn’t finish?”
“It’s a specific way to crack the main quest.” He Qin said, “In order to reflect the realness, the company has set up the concept of participation value for players, so as to limit their words and deeds to the greatest extent and let them treat NPCs as real people and pay attention to the game. In order to reflect the difficulty, they also tampered with the game a little: the system will not let the NPC actively disclose the basic information of the main quest until the players find and submit what the NPCs consider to be key items.”
“It’s actually an idealistic game of finding key items?” Wen Zheliu was surprised and said, “But it’s difficult!”
He Qin smiled faintly, “It’s only interesting if it’s difficult, isn’t it?”
Wen Zheliu was extremely depressed: “You wicked adults…”
Before he could finish speaking, a terrified scream came from outside the door.
“Who?!” Wen Zheliu was startled, and He Qin frowned.
Inside the bedroom, Zhou Qing was leaning against the bed, idly fiddling with the communication device in her hand.
Perhaps in order to fit the background of the time period, this communication device for the whole group to communicate is also painted in a very antique white and copper color. The top has an unknown nine-key pinyin that was popular hundreds of years ago, and the display screen only accounts for half of the device2…
Equipment that is too advanced or too backward is quite a headache. Zhou Qing stumbled around for a while before she was barely familiar with its application. At this time, a vague knocking sound suddenly came from the wall behind her.
She was stunned for a moment, then thought back carefully. Isn’t the bedroom next to Du Zijun’s?
Zhou Qing smiled, because her and Zhou Yao’s room was next to the storage room on the left, and Du Zijun lived on the right, so she remembered it very well. What’s going on now? Could it be that Du Zijun was a little scared of sleeping alone?
Thinking of this, she couldn’t help but stretch out her hand and tap the wall twice in response.
Du Zijun is a rather gloomy girl, but she is still a normal girl in some ways.
The opposite side paused for a while, as if she did not expect her side to respond, and the sound of the knocking back became clearer.
While smiling, Zhou Qing took out the communication device and sent a message to her new friend.
Zhou Qing: [What are you doing? Not sleeping?]
After a while, Du Zijun’s brief text message came back. Her response was unexpectedly cold.
Du Zijun: [?]
Zhou Qing puffed out her cheeks and replied angrily: [Hey! You knocked on the wall in the middle of the night. I found out. Still don’t admit it? Who do you think just gave you those few knocks back?]
The message was sent for a long time, but there’s still no reply.
Hmph, you have a guilty conscience! Zhou Qingzheng was pleased with herself, but the knock on the wall behind her was louder and clearer at this time; almost even her back could feel the tremor of the wall. She frowned and was about to pursue this matter till the end when Du Zijun’s text message suddenly came back.
Du Zijun: [I’m looking for information in the study downstairs; there’s no one in my room; who’s knocking on the wall with you?]
Translator note: Not me translating this at night. I’m literally freaking tf out !!!!
Zhou Qing’s smile instantly froze on her face. She stared at these two lines stiffly. The hair on her back stood up, and she was covered in cold sweat.
Du Zijun: [Stay in the room; don’t open the door and don’t come out; you hear me! ]
The knocking sound behind her stopped.
She sat on the bed with cold hands and feet, not daring to let out a breath, only to hear the increasingly strong heartbeat pounding against her chest, almost ready to pop out of her throat. In this deadly silence, she stared straight ahead, her mind blank.
dong dong dong!
There were five knocks before and after, and Zhou Qing’s body also twitched five times involuntarily, but this time the knocking sound was no longer behind her; it was knocking on her door!
The communicator in her hand buzzed, and she slowly lowered her head. The original displayed screen showed irregular horizontal fluctuations followed by static noise all over the screen. She shivered and pressed her fingers hard on the keypads a few times, but there was no response at all.
Zhou Qing was short of breath; she wanted to shout, but she was afraid of what would happen after she shouted, so she had to keep this frightening silence. There was a louder slap outside the door, and across the door, Zhou Qing also heard a very familiar female voice filtered by the wooden door: “Zhou Qing, Zhou Qing! Open the door now! Why did you lock me out!”
Zhou Qing was suddenly sweating like crazy. Her face was pale, and her teeth were chattering. She could hear it; she could hear it completely! That was Lin Fangfei’s voice!
At this moment, her mental value is already plummeting at a rate of 6% per second. It won’t be long before she loses her reason and falls into a dangerous state of madness. Zhou Qing bit the back of her hand hard, forced herself to calm down, and thought of a solution as soon as possible. She kept hoping that Du Zijun would be her lifeline—that someone on the same floor would hear the noise and open the door to check on this side. Du Zijun is, after all, the last person she talked to, but will she come to her rescue?
Her thoughts drifted wildly, to the point where she couldn’t control herself. The clock on the wall was ticking, and her inner despair and doubts also increased sharply. Du Zijun, who had not come to the rescue, made her inevitably think of the survival mode that they have now started. Yes, she wouldn’t risk her life to save herself. If she died, not only would the rewards be more generous after customs clearance, but the difficulty of the world would also be reduced. What a good deal this is…
Just as she was thinking wildly, the knocking on the door also stopped.
Zhou Qing waited for a long time, but there was no more dangerous news, which made her feel a little more at ease.
Go, go away…
She was covered in sweat, paralyzed on the bed, gasping for breath. At this moment, her nose suddenly caught a thickening scent of blood, and there was a slight noise from the window on the right.
She subconsciously turned her head to look and was scared out of her mind in an instant!
At that moment, a pale human face was stuck outside the window, with empty, bleeding eye sockets. The lips were bent stiffly, showing a twisted and weird smile straight at Zhou Qing, who was sitting at the head of the bed.
“Go away!” screamed Zhou Qing as she rolled out of bed and ran to the door. “Go away, ahhhhh!”
She was draped in a thin nightgown, barefoot, and fled to the door as fast as she could. She turned the key and pulled the door open.
The stench, which was more than a hundred times stronger than before, rushed out. Lin Fangfei, who was covered in blood, was hanging from the door frame. Her long hair was soaked in blood and formed sticky patches that were messily draped all over her face. Through the gap in her hair, her stiff and swollen eyes were staring at Zhou Qing, who was face-to face at the moment.
“You…why keep me outside…”
The Jewish Sabbath (from Hebrew shavat, “to rest”) is observed throughout the year on the seventh day of the week—from Friday evening to Saturday evening. According to biblical tradition, it commemorates the original seventh day on which God rested after completing the creation.
Basically a dumbphone i think.