Chapter 37: Ankang Ancient Town (16)
Yan Wei: “…”
He opened his information panel and reconfirmed that the debuff called “The young girl’s favorite” had no time limit and no origin. In other words, there was no way to undo this debuff, and there was no end time. As long as the instance was there, the debuff will remain.
Yan Wei: “……”
He may have an inseparable bond with debuffs in this life.
In front, Yan Mingguang and Ning Yi refused to give in to each other. The long whip rolled around the blade, both extorting more force.
Hu Ayu hid in the corner of the kitchen. Her hair was in disorder, her clothes were slightly messy, and she seemed to be carrying something in her hands. The ground she stood on was a bit wet as if she had been in here ever since she ran inside last night. As an NPC in the Ankang Ancient Town instance, she didn’t know why these foreign travelers were fighting. She bypassed Yan Mingguang and Ning Yi and glanced at Yan Wei in fear.
Yan Wei smiled at her.
The gentle and harmless smile of the young man made people lower their wariness. Hu Ayu’s eyes moved slightly, and she looked at Yan Wei with a much less panicked look. Only Yan Mingguang and Ning Yi were in front of her, and she couldn’t walk, so she could only lean against the corner.
But the cook was the only one who was still in the mountain temple last night and was not a player. There was a great possibility that she had something to do with the situation last evening. A crucial clue that nobody wanted to give up.
The two were still at a stalemate in the middle of the kitchen.
Yan Wei didn’t expect Ning Yi’s body stats to be so high — perhaps the increase of the dagger’s force1 in her hand was higher than that of Yan Mingguang’s whip.
Several other players entered the kitchen and saw the confrontation between Yan Mingguang and Ning Yi. Whether it was Ning Yi, or Yan, who cooperated with Lin Zhen and Yu Feizhou to control all points yesterday, the players didn’t want to face either. Although some ordinary players had ideas about Hu Ayu, they could only watch the development of the situation silently.
The sound of arrow feathers breaking through the air approached from a distance. A pitch-black arrow suddenly appeared in front of everyone, heading directly towards the center where Yan Mingguang and Ning Yi were entangled. Just as the arrow was about to strike where the knife and the whip connected, Yan Mingguang and Ning Yi reacted swiftly and withdrew their hands.
The arrow was nailed directly to the rear wall.
“There’s a good show early in the morning.” Lin Zhen stepped into the kitchen and looked at the scene zestfully. “You’re robbing this cook? How about adding me in?”
Yu Feizhou came afterward. He glanced in Yan Wei’s direction and caught sight of Yan Wei’s kind and well-behaved smile. Yu Feizhou was shocked, and his warm face showed a moment of uneasiness.
However, he said nothing and walked in silently.
After Lin Zhen stepped in, the stalemate between Yan Mingguang and Ning Yi was temporarily broken. Hu Ayu hesitated for a while before sprinting to Yan Wei’s side.
Everyone present was stunned.
Hu Ayu hid behind Yan Wei and whispered, “Last night… Thank you.”
When Hu Ayu approached, Yan Wei could see clearly what Hu Ayu was carrying in her hands — the object he exchanged from the mall at the entrance of the mountain temple for Hu Ayu to warm her hands.
Yan Wei only said, “It was no trouble at all.”
He said that, but his heart was already in bends. Seeing Hu Ayu’s attitude, he could easily ask for something…
He glanced at Yan Mingguang and made a face.
Yan Mingguang immediately got the message and flung his long whip lightly, which wrapped around Yan Wei’s wrist again.
【Mr. Yan, I don’t know why, but I somehow got a debuff. However, we’ll talk about this later. Our top priority is to seize answer points.】Yan Wei said hurriedly.【Can you stop Lin Zhen and Hu Ayu for a few minutes? There’s a separate room next to the kitchen. I’ll take Hu Ayu for questioning. I’m a point short, anyway. I can get it alone.】
【A few minutes is fine.】Yan Mingguang paused. 【But Yu Feizhou and the others…】
Yan Wei raised the corner of his mouth and smiled. 【That’s too easy. I’m most afraid of Ning Yi. Lin Zhen is trapped easily by provocation, Yu Feizhou’s moral standards are too high, and the other ordinary players… aren’t in my sight.】
In the kitchen of the mountain temple, the remaining players all looked at each other vigilantly and glanced at Hu Ayu from time to time. Perhaps it was because Yan Wei’s image of holding Yan Mingguang’s thighs was too ingrained, although the cook was obviously close to him, and others didn’t pay much attention to Yan Wei.
Lin Zhen toyed with the bowstrings of his bow. “Oh, no one’s moving.”
Yan Wei said: 【We move together on the count of three! One, two — three!!】
The next moment, Yan Wei grabbed Hu Ayu’s arm and whispered, “Come with me!”
Yan Mingguang threw out his long whip and took out a folding dagger with his other hand. He threw the blade at Ning Yi, and the long whip shook in mid-air, heading straight towards Lin Zhen.
Lin Zhen, who had just said no one moved: “…”
Yan Wei had already pulled Hu Ayu and ran away.
Yu Feizhou didn’t seem to have any intention of fighting and took a step back.
The eyes of the remaining players changed slightly — it was one thing not provoking Yan Mingguang and Ning Yi, but it was another in the face of great benefits. The tower forbade players from killing each other. Even if Yan could handle them, it would take much effort. They may already have the highest score and a clue to the staircase to pass the level.
In an instant, several players went straight after Yan Wei.
Yan Wei took Hu Ayu and dashed behind Yu Feizhou, who stood at the door, shouting, “Yu Feizhou! Just do what you discussed with Yan Mingguang before!”
Yu Feizhou: “???” Didn’t his cooperation with Yan Mingguang end yesterday? Was there a promise he forgot?
While Yu Feizhou was thinking, the players looked at Yu Feizhou, immediately stopped, and turned to each other.
Kong Yuwei gritted her teeth. “If we don’t act, we’ll be at the bottom tonight…”
“Let’s cooperate.” Song Yu made a decision. “Yu Feizhou, although we know you’re strong, we want points too! Please don’t stop us and get out of the way!”
What he said was just a formality. Before Song Yu finished speaking, he, Kong Yuwei, and a few other players shot at Yu Feizhou!
Yu Feizhou: “???”
He subconsciously raised his hand to block an attack and knocked a player away, feeling at a loss.
He didn’t stop these people, right?
As Yan Wei thought, the situation in the kitchen fell into a short-term equilibrium. After Lin Zhen and others emerged, Yan Wei had this idea.
Yan Mingguang and Lin Zhen fought Ning Yi together, making several other ordinary players believe that they were with Yu Feizhou for a while — such a misunderstanding was easy to achieve because Lin Zhen battled Ning Yi with Yu Feizhou. He said that it was fine the three operated separately and that there was nothing wrong with Lin Zhen and Yan Mingguang dealing with Ning Yi together. Moreover, the four completed point control over the entire area yesterday. The other players would unconsciously think of them together.
He then said another word to bring disaster to Yu Feizhou, which would cause a delay for a short while.
If Hu Ayu had a clue, it was enough for him to ask. If Hu Ayu was dangerous, he could use the flower ball to save himself and call Yan Mingguang. All players will come immediately, but it will become his life-saving method.
Yan Wei quickly dragged Hu Ayu into the next room, closed the door, and lightly tapped on the black ring in case Hu Ayu actually had a problem. He could take the flower ball out of the ring at any time.
This equilibrium will last only for a few minutes, and he must hurry.
“Yan-xiaoge…” Hu Ayu gasped for breath but didn’t show any unusual reaction. “Didn’t you guys come here to visit? Why are you all like this? What happened to the two travelers who caught me last night… and the matron?
Yan Wei blinked, suddenly showing an anxious and panicked expression, and he said hastily, “I’ll tell you later. Time is short, and I’m afraid something will happen to you after a while. Could you tell me something you know first? As long as you say it, most of these people won’t bother you again.”
–With no first answer point, who would deal with such a useless NPC?
Hu Ayu froze.
Still, she seemed unfazed by the battle and nodded calmly. “Okay, okay… I believe in you. You… are good-looking and kind-hearted. You’re a good person who even mountain god is willing to help.”
Yan Wei felt unspeakable discomfort when he heard “kind-hearted” and “mountain god” mentioned together.
He questioned, “Where were you last night after entering the temple and before we met in the kitchen?”
Hu Ayu hardly thought about it. “I was hiding in the kitchen.”
The tip of Yan Wei’s brows shifted faintly, and thoughts flashed through his pale brown eyes.
If what Hu Ayu said was true — there was a high probability that she indeed hid in the kitchen because the traces in the kitchen did seem like someone spent the night there. So who set the umbrellas last night?
If Hu Ayu’s claim is false, this cook is ten times more troublesome than the matron.
He then asked, “Do you know if anyone else lives in the mountain temple–“
“Some of you died, right?” Hu Ayu interrupted him suddenly.
She frowned and lowered her head, her pale face showing indifferent helplessness and sadness. Nostalgia filled her eyes, and her voice dropped. “As before, the travelers who come here will eventually die one by one.”
Yan Wei’s eyes narrowed. “What do you know?”
“It’s been like this for a decade. Our family… used to live very well in the town, but after what happened ten years ago, my parents died first, and then the townspeople began dying one after another. Later, all the travelers who came here died. Everyone thought it had something to do with our family… They didn’t treat me very well. They said I was unlucky and the mountain god didn’t like me. Eventually, I couldn’t even find a job, so I had to come to the mountain temples once in a while to help out with the food and make a living. Fortunately, the matron was willing to give me some work, but she didn’t mean well. She just thought that foreign travelers would die sooner or later. It was reasonable for me, an unlucky person, to cook.”
“Ten years ago? Your family… What happened?”
“I’m currently 28 years old…”
Ten years ago, she was 18.
There are two long-standing customs in Ankang Ancient Town: All girls needed to get married at the age of 18, and if it rained heavily on her wedding day, then this girl was the person that the mountain god loved, chose, and needed to be worshiped.
Hu Ayu had a twin sister named Hu Ayun. Ten years ago, they had just turned 18, and they chose their marriage partners and time, respectively. As the older twin, Hu Ayun got married first.
On the day of Hu Ayun’s wedding, a torrential rain not seen in decades hit the town of Ankang.