The Uncanny Valley Traveling Guide - Chapter 18
The further they go, the colder the humid air in the jungle becomes. The sticky and rancid smell of the eyeless monster is mixed with the strange aroma from the torch, almost making people faint due to this sensory discomfort.
“I can’t do it…” Zhou Qing covered her mouth and nose and whispered, “I’m going to vomit…”
Wen Zheliu comforted her in a low voice: “Be patient; it will be fine soon.”
He Qin reminded from behind: “Suppress the light of the torch, and be careful not to be discovered by them.”
Xiong Lin suddenly suggested: “Use my item. Although I don’t know how effective it is, at least it has the function of concealment.”
As he said that, he took out his item from the package, [It’s Picnic Time].
[Item name: It’s Picnic Time]
[Activation type: instant activation]
[Cooldown time: 1 hour]
[Attack Power: None]
[Effect: When using this item, a force field with a radius of about two meters will be formed around the player. Under the action of this force field, the activities of any creatures that can be observed in the area will be weakened by about 40% for 15 minutes. ]
[Equipment level: 5]
[Item Introduction: It’s picnic time! Cover this blanket; let’s sleepwalk in the forest together!]
To put it bluntly, this is an item that can weaken the breath and reduce the player’s sense of presence. Although there’s already one person on the team who can’t be noticed even without this item, the remaining players still very much need it.
“Thank you so much!” Wen Zheliu said gratefully. Thus they spread out evenly, and each of them carried a part of the blanket forward. Fortunately, [It’s Picnic Time] is very light and thin, so it wasn’t strenuous to walk.
The chilling wind in the forest blew burst after burst of that foul odor toward them. When the stench index reached its highest, the dense branches and leaves in front of them suddenly opened up, forming a huge pit on the ground.
By the faint light of the fire, Wen Zheliu counted out that there were six huge, eyeless monsters lying down below. They were gathering together and whispering, one after another, making intermittent roars like laughter.
—The monsters’ lair.
“Let’s call it quits, brother…” Wen Zheliu was covered in cold sweat and said, “If these six pounce on us, we’ll all be finished…”
“Don’t worry, let’s take a look again.” He Qin said calmly, with his body slightly bent.
The players waited for a moment and saw the monsters scatter, each crawling into the jungle and disappearing, leaving only two eyeless monsters looking around, as if they were guarding the place.
“What’s going on?” Bai Hao was surprised, “How come four of them are gone?”
“Either went for food or went to the cottage.” Wen Zheliu calmly analyzed, “But even if there are only two left, we can’t be careless.”
He Qin was holding the torch for Wen Zheliu at the back, seemingly thinking about how he was going to get the key item from the monster.
Xiong Lin suddenly called out in a low voice: “Hey, Wen Di, look over there!”
“What?” Wen Zheliu thought he had discovered something and hurriedly leaned over to take a look, but Xiong Lin suddenly shouted and shoved Wen Zheliu from behind!
There was a complete silence all around, so his shout was amplified until it made one’s ear tingle. [It’s Picnic Time] could only weaken 40% of the player’s activities, but not this kind of outrageous noise. As its territory had been invaded, the monster turned its head like a lightning bolt, roared angrily in the direction of Wen Zheliu, and then shot towards him like a cannonball!
Xiong Lin—he must be one of the moles!
Wen Zheliu felt chills all over his body. He was pushed down the steep slope by Xiong Lin without any precaution. Now that he had fallen, he wouldn’t even have a chance to climb up. He would be instantly killed by the monster that rushed up. In a panic, he stretched his hand, trying to grab He Qin’s sleeve: “Brother!”
He Qin’s pupils were constricted. The moment Xiong Lin pushed Wen Zheliu, he swung the torch ruthlessly into Xiong Lin’s face. The scorching flame, in addition to his hand strength, smacked half of Xiong Lin’s face into scorched flesh and sent blood flying in all directions. While Xiong Lin was still screaming, he turned around immediately, his hand stretched out almost like an afterimage, and firmly grabbed Wen Zheliu’s waving hand, “I’m here, don’t be afraid!”
While Wen Zheliu was still in shock, the two eyeless monsters that discovered the players were now also running wildly toward them. Their heavy bodies made the ground under his feet tremble. The eyeless monster opens its bloody mouth and hurls its long tongue at him. Wen Zheliu, still holding He Qin’s hand, clenched the crowbar tightly, swung his arm with all his strength in an instant, and went down hard with the stick: “Go away!!!”
There was a loud sound of metal colliding with hard bone. The hit landed on the monster’s head, causing blood to overflow immediately. The strength of the rebound from the crowbar immediately shattered Wen Zheliu’s thenar webspace1. The monster also hissed and was beaten backward, tumbling down the slope!
“Come up!” He Qin stretched his arms and pulled Wen Zheliu into his embrace. Although the effect just now was remarkable, it also emptied 82% of Wen Zheliu’s physical strength in an instant, and the crowbar was almost broken by him.
Right now, only one monster has been temporarily repelled. Another monster immediately rushed over from the side, and its bloody tongue swept at the players with a piercing sound. He Qin was still angry, like a wild leopard driven mad by fury. He let out a suppressed roar from his throat, put down Wen Zheliu, and grabbed Xiong Lin, who was still rolling and howling. His voice was hoarse, and his smile was ferocious: “Since you want to die so much, then I’ll fulfill your wish.”
Before Xiong Lin could resist, He Qin lifted him up with one hand and threw him at the monster’s bloody tongue. At the same time, the hatchet in his hand was moving like lightning, instantly piercing Xiong Lin’s heart!
He Qin drew the blade back with a swish. Blood and internal organs splattered all over the place, which aroused the monster’s ferocity. Xiong Lin was pierced by the monster’s tongue and was drawing his last breath, but the monster was unwilling to just throw away the other food, so it turned and stretched out its claws to grab the other fresh prey in front of it. He Qin sneered. His god-like knife skill was activated immediately. He raised the hatchet and precisely cleaved one of the monster’s long fingers, cutting it off by the root!
The monster hissed in pain, and the severed finger whirled and fell into the grass. Wen Zheliu had already stood up from the ground and smashed a torch into the center of the monster’s face, saying, “Take the torch; retreat now!”
The remaining players are still in shock after this unexpected turn of events. From Xiong Lin yelling to attract the attention of the eyeless monster and plotting against Wen Zheliu, to Wen Zheliu repelling the monster, He Qin’s violent murder, and then to the finger of the eyeless monster being cut off, until Wen Zheliu made a sound to wake them up… All of this happened too fast, and in just a few seconds, the situation has undergone a dramatic change.
The crowd didn’t care much; they backed away from the monster while waving torches in a disorderly manner. They couldn’t stay here for long.
However, even in this critical situation, Wen Zheliu still noticed that the moment the torch approached the monster, it actually backed up a few steps in a hurry, showing a look of fear.
“Brother, I’m fine! Let’s go!”
In the chaos, He Qin no longer hesitated. He quickly retreated, no longer paying attention to Xiong Lin, who still had a spark of life left. He picked up Wen Zheliu and ran along the route they had taken.
Although Wen Zheliu is still a growing teenager, his height is close to 1.8 meters. He Qin was able to hold him, and running all the way was quite frightening. Wen Zheliu asked: “Brother, are you all right?!”
“At least we have to run out of here before we can talk,” he replied.
Wen Zheliu’s torch fell during the dispute just now, and He Qin’s was also missing. He could only vaguely see He Qin’s stern and fierce eyes through the faint light raised by his companions at the front.
“Don’t be mad, brother,” he whispered, “I’m fine; I’ll be fine soon.”
“Shut up!” He Qin clenched his teeth and said, “I’ll settle the score with you when we get back.”
This was the first time Wen Zheliu was scolded by him, and he felt very wronged, but what happened tonight was already bizarre and tortuous enough; he didn’t want to talk about anything with He Qin now, because it would only speed up his physical exhaustion.
The group fled, panting and in disarray, but fortunately, the monsters behind them did not actually catch up. Perhaps it was true, as Marianne said, that the torches they feared worked, or maybe a fresh meal delayed them, but either way, they escaped the night’s danger.
Seeing the bright lights of the cottage that lasted all night, Bai Hao couldn’t run anymore. He bowed down and covered his stomach while gasping for breath. He then threw the torch to the ground in frustration, trying to put it out with his feet.
“You killed him!” he suddenly shouted while trying to stand on his feet. “You killed him, you cruel murderer!”
He Qin’s breath was a little disorderly as he put Wen Zheliu down. Mottled blood remained on the hatchet hanging on his waist. His face has no trace of wavering emotion after “he killed someone”. He said nonchalantly: “What he did was enough for me to kill him ten times. Stabbing him once was merciful enough.”
Ke Wenyan looked at He Qin; his tone was also a little shaky; it was unknown whether it was due to tiredness or other reasons: “You…you’re too ruthless; he’s at least your companion. Didn’t you say you wanted us to unite, save others, and not follow the mastermind’s wishes? But now what? The first person to break the rules is you!”
Zhou Qing and Xie Yuanyuan remained silent the whole time without opening their mouths.
He Qin’s identity and personality meant that he wouldn’t argue too much with unimportant people, but Wen Zheliu immediately flew into a rage, saying, “Say again who broke the rules first? Xiong Lin shouted and screamed, while leading the monster over and pushing me down. Why didn’t you scold him for being ruthless? If he had succeeded, he would have gotten everyone killed! Now that you’re here blaming my brother in such a righteous manner, do you have no conscience?”
“We know you have the ability,” Bai Hao said soberly, and as soon as he opened his mouth, he invisibly drew a line between them and the rest of the players, “But if you have the ability to kill teammates at will, then you’re on your own. Don’t harm us ordinary people, okay?”
His way of avoiding the key points and concentrating on nonsense made Wen Zheliu even more angry. He almost became dizzy with anger when his physical strength was exhausted. At the same time, Zhou Qing suddenly said: “Isn’t this very good? Yes, I think it’s pretty balanced.”
Ke Wenyan was shocked: “Zhou Qing, you…”
Zhou Qing sneered and said, “Don’t look at me like that. Xiong Lin himself is the one who talks about the law of the jungle and the survival of the fittest. Although I don’t know why he suddenly went crazy, he not only wanted to hurt Wen Di but also wanted to drag us all into trouble, but… It’s the law of the jungle here; whoever is strong is in the right.”
She was also terribly frightened, and now her face was pale and bloodless, but she still shrugged contemptuously, acting indifferent to Ke Wenyan and Bai Hao. Xie Yuanyuan next to her said faintly: “You can’t talk about the law of the jungle when you have the upper hand and say that everyone should unite to save others when you’re weak… Isn’t that too hypocritical…”
Staring at the two people who were speechless, He Qin finally sneered and took Wen Zheliu’s hand and said, “Come in. It’s too cold outside.”
In the room, Mu Tuo and Zhou Yao had already prepared hot soup for the night patrollers to warm their bodies, but they were shocked when they saw a group of people walking in with a wretched state and a thick smell of blood. They counted carefully, and there was one missing.
“What’s going on?” Zhou Yao felt sorry for his sister and hurried up to take off her dirty coat and wrap her in a clean blanket, “What happened?”
Ke Wenyan sneered, and without waiting for Zhou Qing to answer, Bai Hao yelled in a voice so hoarse that it broke: “This murderer killed his teammate! He Qin killed Xiong Lin! Everyone come down to judge and see the true face of the murderer!”
“You!” Wen Zheliu was furious and almost went up with a crowbar to crack his skull open, but He Qin held him down.
“It’s okay; don’t be impulsive.”
Mu Tuo’s expression suddenly became serious. He put down the soup bowl in his hand and looked at He Qin: “Brother He Qin, what’s going on?”
Bai Hao’s voice was extremely penetrating in the silent night. Except for Marianne, who was sleeping on the third floor, even the dead would be yelled awake by him. Soon, Du Zijun in a nightgown and Gao Xinghan with a pale face appear at the stairs.
“What happened?” Du Zijun asked with a frown.
“Dead? How did someone die again?!” This was Gao Xinghan’s reaction.
Bai Hao sarcastically said: “Of course, on account of their own greatness, they can slaughter their teammates at will. How can people not die?!”
Wen Zheliu said in a deep voice, “Then you can talk about the cause and effect and see whose fault it is.”
“Of course Xiong Lin is wrong, but He Qin is right?” Ke Wenyan snapped, “These are two different things; everyone is an adult; can’t we learn to look at problems separately?”
He Qin had already sat down on the chair at this time. He wiped the blood off the hatchet and said lazily: “You don’t respond to others’ criticism directly, but use criticism as your reply. As an adult, can’t you learn to avoid this low-level logical fallacy when speaking?”
Ke Wenyan was about to refute, but Wen Zheliu interrupted him impatiently: “Since both of you think he’s at fault, let’s find a teammate who is both involved throughout and an outsider to tell about it. Xie Yuanyuan, can you do us this favor?”
Zhou Qing raised her head in confusion: “Xie Yuanyuan? Who is Xie Yuanyuan?”
Xie Yuanyuan was helpless but still raised his hand weakly in the corner as usual: “It’s me…”
Part of the hand between the thumb and the index finger