Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Facing such a small octopus that was completely different from the arrogance just now, Dong Zhi actually felt a trace of guilt.
“Sorry, we didn’t know you were a staff member invited by the organizing committee. Can your eyes still recover?”
Octopus: “Yes. My eyes and tentacles can regenerate.”
Dong Zhi squatted down. “Then I’ll go back and tell them to pay more remuneration, okay?”
“Really?” The octopus raised its head and stared at him with its only remaining eye.
Dong Zhi: “But we still have a few questions. I hope you can help us answer them.”
Octopus: “Half a ton of fish for one question.”
The corners of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched. “Okay.”
The octopus was immediately elated. “Then ask!”
Dong Zhi: “Have you seen the remnant soul of a heavenly demon? Or, have you ever seen a person possessed by a demon?”
Octopus: “What is a demon?”
Dong Zhi was speechless for a moment, then could only say, “It looks like a cloud of black air, but in fact, it can enter the body of the living and control their minds, performing behaviors that are different from ordinary humans. For example, digging out people’s hearts.”
Octopus: “Ah, then I have seen it. Is that a demon?”
Everyone was shocked.
Dong Zhi asked, “Where is it?!”
Octopus: “I don’t know, but I saw him when he dug out the hearts. He ate several human hearts, but one person ran away.”
Tom hurriedly said, “That’s me! Why didn’t you stop the demon at that time?!”
The octopus asked strangely, “Why stop it? The rules of the competition only prevent me from harming humans. It didn’t say that I have to protect them.”
Liu Qingbo was suspicious. “You saw it? Why didn’t it kill you?”
Octopus: “I don’t know. Why should it kill me?”
Liu Qingbo: “Your power is so great. Why didn’t it attach to your body and use your power to kill?”
The octopus was silent.
Liu Qingbo became more convinced that his speculation was a possibility. He had already drawn his sword before he heard its confused voice.
“I don’t know. It did try to attack me, but found that it couldn’t control me, so it ran away… I remember!”
The octopus said aggrievedly, “It said that I was too stupid. I kept thinking about eating fish all day long in my head, and my strength wasn’t strong enough. It felt like it was a shame to enter my body.”
It was rare that his thoughts aligned with Mara’s, but Liu Qingbo felt no honor.
The ignorant octopus was like a child whose spiritual wisdom hadn’t fully developed. It was both powerful and childish, and even the words it was saying couldn’t make people laugh or cry.
“So is it still on this island?” Dong Zhi asked.
Octopus: “No, it went to another island, because there’s a more terrifying monster on it. It should have gone to find it.”
Dong Zhi: “What monster?”
Octopus: “I don’t know, but it’s terrible. I can sense its power, which is extremely huge and profound, making it irresistible. I dare not approach it. It’s sleeping now, but I don’t know when it will wake up. If it wakes up, it will be a very terrifying scene. The sea will flow backward, the sun will be replaced by the moon. I will also die!”
It spoke in a confused manner with mixed-up language, but they could hear the extreme fear in its tone.
Zhang Song frowned and said, “Is that monster also invited by the organizing committee?”
Octopus: “No, no. They don’t know it exists. No one knows it exists, but I can sense it. The demon you mentioned should be able to do the same, so it went to find it. I was scared. Oh, I’m going home…”
Everyone never expected that the huge octopus that was so powerful just now turned out to be a monster with a child’s mind after shrinking.
Liu Qingbo said viciously, “Don’t cry. Answer our questions carefully. Which island did it go to, and what’s on the island?!”
As a result, the octopus cried even louder.
Li Han’er couldn’t bear it and bent over to comfort it with a warm voice. Perhaps due to the gentle power of women, the little octopus’ cries finally subsided, and everyone’s sore heads were relieved.
“Meika.” Li Han’er even got the octopus’ name. “Aren’t you afraid that the monster will wake up? We’re going to destroy the demon to prevent it from waking up the monster, but you have to tell us which island the demon went to and what is on the island before we can be sure we can defeat the demon.”
Octopus Meika said, “There is ice, glaciers, and a huge city of ice and snow on the island.”
Li Han’er was surprised. “The ice and snow haven’t melted?”
Meika: “The mist is an enchantment, frozen with ice and snow, so it won’t melt. They deliberately brought the glaciers here, but they don’t know there is a monster beneath them. The monster is sleeping and must not be awakened. Otherwise, there will be big trouble.”
The “they” it was referring to was Group 51.
Li Han’er: “Since the monster is sleeping, the demon shouldn’t be able to wake it up, right?”
Meika: “No, it can get into the consciousness of the monster, anger it, and then control it.”
Tom looked at Dong Zhi. “Dong, we must find Lilith immediately, tell them the truth, and then go destroy the demon!”
Dong Zhi continued to ask Meika, “Is there a golden apple on this island?”
Meika: “No, only silver coins. Do you want them?”
‘It’s good that it’s not fish or shrimp,’ Dong Zhi thought. “Where are the silver coins?”
The little octopus opened its mouth and spat out several silver coins.
“Here. It’s all here. Take it!”
Liu Si picked up the silver coins, causing the little octopus to let out a gasp. As if discovering a new world, the octopus excitedly said, “You’re not human either!”
“I’m not.” Liu Si smiled.
Meika was very curious. It looked at him up and down with one eye. “Then is this also a disguise using illusions that you look like this?”
Liu Si shook his head and said, “I have studied through cultivation and have undergone a complete transformation of my body. I won’t be easily seen through by others.”
Meika: “How can I transform? I want to transform too!”
Liu Si smiled. “Isn’t it good to be an octopus?”
Meika said in distress, “It’s not very good. I can only live in the ocean all the time. After leaving the coast, humans will treat me as food.”
Dong Zhi, who had just cut off a section of the tentacle not long ago, felt a little guilty, but Tom, who had eaten the charcoal-grilled tentacle slices, felt even more guilty. The two looked at each other by coincidence and quickly looked away.
Meika continued, “If I can transform into a human, I don’t have to stay in the water all the time, and I can eat more delicious fish. I heard that grilled fish is more delicious than raw, right?”
In the end, it was just for fish. Liu Si was also a little speechless about this unambitious octopus monster. He said, “It should be, but it is indeed more convenient to be able to change shape at will. If you’re interested, you must learn Chinese first. There are many methods of cultivation, and only those who know Chinese can understand them correctly.”
Meika: “Okay, then can you teach me? I can give you a gift. Do you want a shark or a whale?”
Liu Si: “…Neither.”
Dong Zhi came up with an idea. “How about this? If you can maintain this reduced body shape, after the competition is over, we’ll communicate with the organizing committee and take you back to China. I will take you to a place where there is also an elder who has awakened his intelligence from animal form. If he is willing to accept you as his disciple, you will learn many useful skills.”
The Wuzhiqi had kept a promise to stay underwater for thousands of years, willingly. However, Dong Zhi thought that if he had a disciple to teach, it might alleviate his loneliness. Besides, he had damaged one of the octopus’ eyes, so he had to repay the debt.
Of course, if the Wuzhiqi wasn’t satisfied with this disciple, then Dong Zhi would also find a way to compensate the octopus. The Special Administration Bureau was full of talent, and it shouldn’t be impossible to accommodate an octopus.
The octopus was elated. “That’s great. Then I’ll wait for you to finish the competition and follow you back to China!”
Tom interrupted the octopus’ elation. “Wait, Meika. I want to know. How are my companions?”
Meika: “Who is your companion?”
Tom: “It’s one of the teams that came in.”
Meika said honestly, “Some are dead, and some are still alive. I don’t know who’s dead and who’s still alive.”
Tom was shocked. “How did they die?!”
Meika: “There seems to be some infighting. One of them is possessed by a demon, which is the one I mentioned before.”
Tom said in a low voice, “Isn’t it already gone?!”
Meika: “It doesn’t have a fixed form and can be divided into many parts. The part that called me stupid is its main body, but outside of its main body, it has also split up some clones to occupy human consciousness. Do you understand what I mean?”
Tom didn’t understand.
Dong Zhi said, “The heavenly demon’s remnant soul may have already taken action on the ship. After possessing someone, it uses temptation and manipulation to pass on the demonic qi to people with evil intentions, using them to commit killings. We’ve encountered one in the forest before. Now, what we can do is hurry to Princes Island and stop it before the demon’s remnant soul awakens that monster.”
Meika said, “That’s right. Besides the monster, there is also my friend Elizabeth on Princess Island. She has the golden apple. I can take you to find her.”
Dong Zhi asked, “Is Elizabeth also hired by the organizing committee to help?”
Meika nodded its head. “Yes, we all signed a contract. She will be responsible for stopping you from getting the golden apple. In return, she will receive many beautiful dresses.”
Dong Zhi suddenly thought about the organizing committee, which had told them the riddle about the golden apple.
“Could it be the riddle that the beauty shrouded in the clouds will eventually take off her mysterious veil is referring to your friend?”
“Beauty?” Meika naturally praised its friend. “Elizabeth is indeed beautiful, and she’s very shy. The only thing she cares about is art. If the art is destroyed, she will be very angry.”
Everyone suddenly realized that they had found the truth.
Dong Zhi said, “Meika, can you take us out of this maze?”
The octopus was quite happy to be able to visit its friend. “Yes. Before you came, I had already visited this maze several times, and I remembered the route!”
“You remembered all the complicated routes?” Zhang Song wasn’t quite convinced that an octopus could remember the route out of a maze.
Meika sensed his doubt and unhappily said, “Of course! Have you ever seen an octopus that speaks English?”
Zhang Song: …No.
Meika said proudly, “I must be the first octopus that speaks English, and the only one!”
The little octopus got up from the ground. When Dong Zhi saw its eye, he felt sorry for it. He lifted it up and let it point in the direction as everyone followed along.
“When will your eye recover?”
“Maybe in a dozen or twenty days. Octopus have strong regenerative abilities.”
Dong Zhi apologized. “I’m sorry. The enemies we encountered before were all very fierce, so we had to give it our all each time.”
“It’s okay.” Meika didn’t seem to mind. “I will use this to get more pay from them. This time, I want ten tons of fish. What do you think?”
Dong Zhi couldn’t laugh or cry. “Where can you store so much fish? And you can even become small. Can you eat all that fish?”
Meika: “I can keep track of it. I’ve been trading with them like this for years. They owe me more than ten tons of fish now, and with this catch, it will last me for a long time. I can even remember the route through the maze, let alone what they owe me! The only reason I shrunk down to talk to you is all for communication. Normally, I prefer to be my original size, swimming freely in the ocean. All marine creatures give way when they see me. Aren’t I majestic?!”
The octopus was originally an intelligent creature. Meika, who was in front of him, was obviously smarter than an ordinary octopus and possibly even smarter than ordinary humans. After all, humans wouldn’t be able to remember the route out of a maze. If Meika could carry out systemic learning, perhaps its wisdom would one day surpass many humans.
“I know a dragon who also loves food. You’ll be able to become good friends when you meet.” Dong Zhi was talking about Kan Chaosheng.
Meika: “A dragon? Can it breathe fire?”
Dong Zhi: “No, no. He’s not the kind of dragon in the west, but a dragon in the east. He hasn’t really become a dragon yet, but will soon.”
As the two of them were chatting, Liu Qingbo suddenly made a sound from behind and grabbed Dong Zhi.
“It smells like blood!”
Everyone else also smelled it. They drew out their weapons to be on guard.
Meika said, “There’s no danger ahead.”
But Dong Zhi and the others weren’t at ease. They walked slowly around the corner and found a corpse lying on the ground.
Tom exclaimed, “Isn’t this the female astrologer?!”
Liu Qingbo stepped forward to check and found that she had been dead for a while. Her fingers were stained with blood, but there was no wound on her hand, indicating that the blood was someone else’s. There was also a blood hole in the center of her brows, which should have been caused by a bullet.
Tom also squatted down. He looked at it for a while and said, “This should be our bullet.”
Liu Qingbo: “We suspected before that she might have been possessed.”
Coupled with the fact that they heard gunshots during the day, it wasn’t difficult to make the connection.
Dong Zhi asked the octopus, “Are there any remaining monsters in the maze now? Can you feel them?”
Meika: “I used to be able to see as long as I got bigger, but now you have cut off several tentacles and one of my eyes is gone. I’m seriously injured and need to recuperate. There’s nothing I can do for the time being.”
Tom: “What about my companions? Can you tell where they are?”
Meika: “They have either left or they have gone back to the fork in the road. There is no other test here except me.”
Of course, the demon was an accident. Mara’s remnant soul was elusive and unpredictable. Everyone expected the beginning, but not the process. Aside from this accident, the levels of the four islands had their own characteristics.
Diana Island was a forest infested with zombies.
Rose Island had the harpies.
Full Moon Island had a maze with a giant octopus monster.
Princess Island had a beautiful city of ice and snow.
If there was no demonic qi infested by the remnant soul of the heavenly demon, everyone would be looking towards Princess Island, which would also be the destination of their ultimate goal, the golden apple.
Dong Zhi tried to call William using the cellphone he gave him, but he couldn’t get through.
Zhang Song and the others curled their mouths, thinking that no matter how powerful the technology was, it wasn’t as reliable as a sword. But looking at Tom’s gloomy face, they didn’t say this out loud.
Although Tom was anxious, he had no choice but to follow Dong Zhi and the others and continue onward.
With the octopus leading the way, everyone returned to the fork in the maze again. Before dawn, they had already walked out of the maze smoothly, but along the way, they didn’t encounter any humans again.
Tom was concerned about Lilith and William, so he didn’t want to go to Princess Island with Dong Zhi, so Dong Zhi gave him the cellphone and told him to keep in touch with William and the others. If necessary, he could take the speedboat to Princess Island to find them, or he could withdraw from the competition.
Under Tom’s gaze, the group of six, together with the octopus monster, took a speedboat to Princess Island.
The fog outside Princess Island was far more intense than that of other islands. The almost milky white mist surrounded the entire island, forming a natural barrier. As the speedboat approached, Princess Island gradually appeared in their sights behind the white fog.
Li Han’er thought to herself that her concentration was good, but at this moment, she couldn’t help but let out an exclamation.
The island was almost covered in white.
The castle on the island was built by glaciers, as if a fairy tale had suddenly leapt out of a book into the real world.
However, this place wasn’t close to the polar regions. The ice and snow were all transported here and fixed in place by special methods. For the sake of this competition, the Americans certainly went all out.
“Who drew Princess Island before?” Yang Shouyi asked.
“The French and the leaders of Southeast Asia,” Li Han’er said.
Because the French had teased them with Grace before, everyone didn’t have a good impression of them. If the French were the first to win this competition, it would be more irritating than if William and the others won.
“Is there any test on this island?”
It was Meika who answered them, “Only the ice trap and Elizabeth, but Elizabeth won’t let them get the golden apple so easily.”
Liu Qingbo: “What’s your Elizabeth good at?”
Meika: “She has soldiers—many soldiers—who can come out at any time, anywhere.”
This sentence sounded a bit vague, but Dong Zhi and the others soon knew what it meant.
At the moment they set foot on Princess Island, the city of ice and snow, as if sensing their arrival, created countless sharp thorns made of ice that pierced through the ground and sprouted around them like a silent welcoming ceremony.
Everyone was startled and hurriedly dodged, but the ice thorns emerged far faster than they thought. Within seconds, the thorns had rapidly surrounded them, forming a large expanse of white ice crystals as far as the eye could see.
Liu Si reacted a little slower and narrowly missed having a sharp ice crystal pierce through the sole of his foot, creating a pair of holes through his shoe.
“Meika, can you contact your friend?” Dong Zhi asked.
The little octopus was slumped on Dong Zhi’s shoulder and replied weakly. “I can’t. All my body’s energy has been depleted. Even transforming into a larger size is very difficult.”
Everyone had to walk cautiously through the ice and snow. Li Han’er was inattentive and brushed against a sharp edge of an ice crystal, immediately tearing her clothes.
“Be careful. These ice crystals are even sharper than real swords!”
In such a world, ice and snow were no longer just a breathtaking natural phenomenon or a work of art for viewing. They were deadly weapons.
Dong Zhi suddenly felt that even if the French team arrived here before them, they might not necessarily have an advantage. Besides, the other team didn’t know that the golden apple was on this island. They might have turned to other islands after encountering setbacks. So overall, the rules of the game were quite fair. While strength was undoubtedly important, luck also played a significant role.
When they finally made it through this patch of ice thorns, they found another large patch emerging from the ground.
Zhang Song was impatient and drew out his sword. With a flick of his wrist, the sword flew out and directly cut through the thorns and ice crystals in front of him, leveling everything below his calves.
More thorns continued to grow, and the light from the sword intersected and crisscrossed in the air, creating a dazzling white. Under the sunlight, shards of ice crystal covered the path they had walked on, shining like scattered jewels that no one had picked up. Meika was amazed to see this, and as they sheathed their swords, they expressed regret. “You guys should keep going!”
Dong Zhi couldn’t laugh or cry at the octopus. Despite its large size and intelligence, it was definitely not more mature than Kan Chaosheng in terms of mental maturity.
“We need to enter this ice city. Are there any traps inside?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I haven’t been there before. I’ve been living under the arctic ocean all this time, but Elizabeth has a lot of weapons, and this is her world.”
As if in response to the octopus’ words, snowflakes falling from the sky condensed in the air for a moment, turning into soldiers in armor with spears in their hands.
“Throwing beans to make soldiers*!” Yang Shouyi’s tone was full of astonishment. He didn’t expect that someone would be proficient in such Taoist techniques in this kind of place.
*Idiom referring to the legendary story where a general was able to create an army out of farmers by scattering beans on the ground and shouting a command, causing the beans to transform into soldiers. Figuratively, it means to be able to turn something small or insignificant into something big and powerful.
“That Elizabeth should be able to control ice and snow!” Liu Qingbo said. He had always been a person who grew braver in battle and faced difficulties head-on. This time, he brought out his Fumo Sword, and he couldn’t wait to show it off.
However, foreigners didn’t know the origins of the Fumo Sword or who Zhong Kui was. He was frustrated that he couldn’t gain a sense of accomplishment from killing zombies, but now that there were so many enemies, he became excited. The Fumo Sword seemed to sense its owner’s emotions and was restless in his hand, buzzing loudly and eager to be used.
Meika is so cute!
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