Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 98: Grief
The moment the vine broke, Zhong Chengshuo’s pupils shrank as if a string in his head seemed to snap.
The contemplative Li Nian, Fu Xingchuan’s shouting, and the motionless Qi Xin figures were all blurred in his vision, leaving only hazy shadows.
The dim research hall gradually turned into an equally dim underground research room.
The walls were full of the same information, except the murals on his walls weren’t murals but countless newspaper clippings, photos, and notes.
And among them, there was a corner that belonged to Yin Ren alone.
[…Yin Ren’s hair composition is exactly the same as human hair. Liang Shan didn’t distinguish the difference between them…]
[…As an evil being, Yin Ren has above-average human morality. He learns human culture and customs extremely quickly, is full of interest in the world, and isn’t averse to considering humans as sexual objects…]
[…In summary, Yin Ren must have, or have had, a part that belonged to humans.]
The square, horizontal grid paper was full of sharp pen characters.
When a person turned into an Evil Spirit, there had to be a complex internal situation. That was his most beautiful and complex puzzle. Zhong Chengshuo had thought about it in countless ways and wanted to stay with it as long as possible.
Miraculously, it was willing to stay for him.
So Zhong Chengshuo embraced supreme patience and pressed all his curiosity to the bottom of his heart. He was afraid that he might accidentally go too far and scare the puzzle away.
And now, his puzzle was like a bud, gently blooming a gap.
“It seems to be me.”
Not long ago, facing the “figure in red” surrounded by evil things in the mural, Yin Ren said this.
“It’s more reasonable to gather thousands of evil spirits to deal with an Evil Spirit together… I’m a bit confused. Which side is the ‘Ghost King’ who summons evil spirits really on?”
Facing Shian, who had no clue, Yin Ren was dropping hints again.
This line alone didn’t have much meaning, but if “It seems to be me”, referring to the figure in red, was added…
It seemed that Yin Ren had a deep relationship with the Great Celestial Master, who sealed the Six Evil Spirits back then.
Thousands of years ago, Yin Ren was an evil being that collaborated with the Great Celestial Master Zhong Yi?
Or was it that the Great Celestial Master Zhong Yi, whose reputation had lasted for thousands of years and who was close to “god”, was an evil being that was transformed from a human from the start?
The mummified corpses were approaching on the other side of the vine net. They rushed through the hole in the net with their mouths wide open. Zhong Chengshuo drew Yin Ren closer with one hand while covering his mouth with the other, hiding the excited corners of his mouth.
This was really… interesting.
Yin Ren gave enough hints, so the rest would depend on Shian’s reaction speed.
“Take action?” Fu Xingchuan didn’t pay attention to the three young people behind him as he asked Professor Li loudly.
Professor Li thought for a while. The zombies were about to scratch their faces. These were high-quality zombies that had been marinated in evil qi for hundreds of years. Who knew what the aftereffects would be if they were injured by them?
Even if they ignored the evil qi, bacterial infection was enough to make them go belly up.
Li Nian was buckling up the headset, completely ignoring him. Fu Xingchuan clicked his tongue and floated into the air. His gown was fluttering in the hot wind.
His hair tie was burned away by the flames, and his half-length hair was tumbling around. The scarlet flames quickly rotated and formed beside him, turning into a pair of huge qilin*.
*Also known as kirin, it is a legendary hooved chimerical creature that appears in Chinese mythology and is said to appear with the imminent arrival or passing of a sage or illustrious ruler. Qilin are a specific type of the lin mythological family of one-horned beasts.
The qilins’ feet were golden, and the end of the dragon’s tail was dyed with brilliant red flames. The two flame beasts bared their sharp claws, and their eyes flashed dazzling white light. They raised their heads and let out a loud roar.
The fire tore through the darkness, illuminating the research hall like day. Seeing that his hint had failed, Yin Ren was about to sigh—
The green willow branches on his wrist whizzed away.
Professor Li held the whip in both hands, and the wicker shot out. The verdant branch bound the qilins’ neck tightly, wrapping it around more than a dozen times.
The two flame qilins lowered their bodies and were about to pounce forward when their collars were pulled back. They howled as their claws scraped the ground in dissatisfaction.
Fu Xingchuan staggered with the pair of qilins, almost throwing himself at the evil things. He opened his mouth and hands to make a string of spells and said in shock, “Fuck me, Lao Li. Are you the mole?!”
Professor Li: “Shut up.”
Immediately afterwards, he took a deep breath. “Fu Xingchuan, if you hold on for another 15 minutes, I have an idea.”
“Are you sure?” Fu Xingchuan’s voice sank.
Zhong Chengshuo knew what he was asking.
If Li Nian misjudged, then Fu Xingchuan would consume his strength in vain while waiting. The situation was becoming more serious. If he and Yin Ren were just ordinary people, then the five of them might be buried in darkness because of his mistake.
“I believe in my judgment,” Li Nian replied.
He opened his backpack and quickly assembled rows of equipment, moving so fast that it was hard to see. The zombies roared and rushed towards him; their sharp nails almost scratched Li Nian’s eyes, but he didn’t blink.
“Zhong Chengshuo, why are you standing around in a daze?” Professor Li spoke sharply. “Help!”
He raised his hand and threw a bunch of detectors over. Zhong Chengshuo looked at them for two seconds to analyze what they were—a very basic module. For science posts, this belonged to physical work that wouldn’t make any mistakes as long as the brain wasn’t fried.
“This is?” Zhong Chengshuo cautiously tried to confirm.
“If these evil things are really being controlled, and it’s not a super-sized creature like an Evil Spirit that is controlling them… then the controller’s methods are definitely traceable.”
Li Nian’s hands were as steady as the machines. He even had time to answer Zhong Chengshuo’s inquiry, although his tone was impatient and there was even a hint of murderous intent.
“Fu Xingchuan didn’t find any clues, indicating the controller isn’t using conventional metaphysical methods. In this case, only data will not lie… Such a uniformed and desperate offensive method can’t be negotiated with evil things.”
And finding the control method, whether it was to cut it off or locate the source, would give them a direction.
Their hands were like spiders weaving a web. Ten minutes passed, and a simple detection wall was added in front of the mural. The folding instruments in the package were formed into a mesh, covering most of the mural. The ground lines were intertwined, and the power supply at the end was blinking between red and green.
Li Nian didn’t make the slightest mistake throughout the entire process. His movements seemed to be twice as fast. His fingertips were scratched by hard parts, and there were mottled bloodstains on the cold metal.
Fu Xingchuan’s fire qilins barely held their ground. Their position was compressed to a quarter of the hall, but none of the evil creatures crossed Fu Xingchuan’s line of defense.
“Are you ready? Remember to treat me to dinner when we return,” Minister Fu muttered.
Li Nian hummed perfunctorily and pushed the switch with his bloody fingertips.
“Hao Wenzhe, 60 seconds, analyze the data!” he ordered sharply.
Haigu, Shian Campus.
Lu Xiaohe was sweating profusely to the point where her blood almost coagulated.
She had no time to take care of the underground for the time being—there were two top Shian experts, as well as Hao Wenzhe addressing that. Since Xiang Jiang’s call, her attention had turned to the members of Unit 9 above ground.
The reference data from the underground was still jumping on the screen, and the continuous loud noises coming from the other side of the headset were as clear as ever in her ear.
Not long ago, she heard the story from Mayor Ren.
After the Divine Descent 28 years ago, the town lost its mine and declined rapidly. The previous mayor tried his best but failed to improve the town’s economy.
However, the decline of Gengsheng Town was relatively slow.
Ren Jiying said that this had something to do with the almost crazy xenophobia in the town—in such an atmosphere, the elderly were unwilling to leave even if they died. Most of the young people had to come back to provide for their loved ones, while a small number “betrayed” their hometown and never set foot back again.
There was no fresh blood pouring in, but not much was lost, so they just lived, while decaying slowly.
And the story stopped at the word “decaying”.
The sound of broken glass drowned out the rest of Ren Jiying’s words.
A wine bottle filled with lime smashed the window of the homestay and exploded in front of the four of them. Ren Jiying was almost smothered by the glass ballast. Fortunately, Xiang Jiang’s reaction was quick, and he was able to perform a protective spell.
“Heh,” Huang Jin gave a wry, feeble smile and retracted his head from the window. “It’s just the living.”
At some point, Ren Jiying’s homestay was crowded with residents of Gengsheng Town; most of them looked like the elderly.
“She let bad things in.” An old man’s voice, who was holding a shovel covered with sand, was blown into the glass hole by the wind.
“Yes, she brought bad people in.” An old lady who was holding a kitchen knife in her hand had an extremely exaggerated smile on her face.
“Sure enough, that bitch is no good.” A middle-aged man with a hammer tied around his back stroked his gray hair.
“A whore who’s blinded by money.” A woman holding a child had a sharp screwdriver in her pocket.
More and more townspeople gathered around the homestay. Several of them brought ladders from their homes to help others climb over the wall and enter the yard. Just looking at the scene outside the wall, these people could even be considered harmonious and friendly.
However, members of Unit 9 didn’t like this murderous “harmony and friendship”.
Ge Tingting imitated Huang Jin and stretched her head back and forth as sweat broke out on her brow. “Should we call the police?”
“It’s useless.” Ren Jiying was hiding in a gap against the wall between two windows. She had a wry smile on her round face. “If they dared come here, then the public security bureau had already been blocked. Believe me, it’s all old people in their seventies and eighties who are looking for death. It’s not easy to handle.”
Huang Jin’s eyes straightened. “But we can’t handle it either.”
Harming the masses was forbidden by Shian. To attack people, they had to have sufficient reasons—the so-called sufficient reasons were nothing more than extremely limited situations, such as “being possessed or controlled” or “becoming ill due to drugs or mental reasons”.
The people outside were behaving excessively, but there were signs that their sanity was blurred, so they couldn’t make a move.
“Lu Xiaohe, arrange an escape route.”
As soon as Xiang Jiang started the call, another wine bottle flew in. This time, the bottle smelled of smoke and gasoline.
Ren Jiying grabbed the flowerpot beside her and quickly poured the dirt onto the bottle. The flame was quickly extinguished, but the smoke in the house became heavier, triggering the smoke alarm.
“The crowd is on the opposite side. We must abandon this stronghold. There are two metaphysical posts and one science post here. We can’t walk on the ground as there may be evil creatures squatting outside ready to attack.”
Lu Xiaohe: “…Why is it so serious all of a sudden!”
Her colleagues underground were being besieged by evil things while her colleagues above ground were being besieged by the living. Her brain was almost divided in half.
“I don’t know,” Xiang Jiang said. “Perhaps Fu Xingchuan disturbed something, but we certainly didn’t trigger anything.”
Lu Xiaohe took two deep breaths as she pulled up the local satellite map. “First, use elevation to reach the tree canopy in the courtyard. Then go to the roof of the yellow building on the northwest side. After that, I’ll show you the way to the center of the town—there are many abandoned buildings over there, which can easily hide you.”
“Don’t use your technique too obviously. Be careful that someone might shoot you,” she added.
Unknown whether it was due to impatience or ridicule, but Xiang Jiang snorted and hung up.
On Lu Xiaohe’s screen, a few dots leaped out of the shady window on the second floor and moved to the canopy of the big tree. The floating mist around finally became useful. Everyone made their way to the roof of the next building. The entire process went smoothly.
“Lu Xiaohe. Sixty seconds. Help process the data!” Hao Wenzhe’s voice came from behind her.
“On it!” Lu Xiaohe shuddered as she answered with a bitter face.
Not far behind her, Hao Wenzhe was pounding on the keyboard so loudly that even Lu Xiaohe’s ears kept buzzing.
The wall in front of him was full of mechanical indicators. Countless waveforms and charts filled the screen. Lu Xiaohe was reading various indices; occasionally she would be distracted and look at the satellite thumbnail. Her temples were throbbing.
The group is moving. Safe route… What did this auxiliary reading represent? There seemed to be no trace of manipulation…. Dizzy. I want to throw up…
There were thirty seconds left.
Lu Xiaohe slapped her face hard, forcing herself to scan the data in the corners.
Her eyes jumped between the flashing numbers on the screen. The habits from the Archive hadn’t been eliminated. Her eyes would subconsciously gaze past the tables showing various emotional indices.
“Fear” and “Satisfaction”, as well as the four categories of “Evil”, “Sorrow”, “Joy”, and “Love”.
Her gaze froze.
“The emotional readings of the hordes of evil things are highly abnormal!”
“The same on your side? Very good. It doesn’t seem to be a reading error.”
Lu Xiaohe frantically calculated the set of data as Hao Wenzhe’s screen flickered as if something had malfunctioned, but it was obviously still ruling out other possibilities.
Hao Wenzhe pressed enter, giving the answer as the rear commander.
“Traces of a control spell is zero. The possibility of violent coercion is extremely low. All the data is normal. Only the emotional value of the evil things has greatly deviated.”
“Depressed, dazed, sadness, hopelessness… all the emotions of ‘Grief’ seriously exceed the standard. They are driven by the same broad category of emotions and seem to regard you as the source of pain.”
Hao Wenzhe took a sip of wolfberry-soaked water and scratched his thinning hair. His fair facial features, thick eyebrows, and round eyes with slightly fat cheeks gave him a slight temperament like that of an unhappy flat-faced cat.
“There has never been such a control method in the information base… Unfortunately, the value of those living people can’t be measured here. Otherwise, I’m curious about the emotional index of the townspeople.”
“To break the situation, you need a special ability user of the emotional ‘resonance’ branch. As long as you can disturb the emotions of these things, they will wake up and disperse according to their nature.”
Li Nian: “We don’t have such a person.”
Fu Xingchuan was the strongest combat power in Haigu, while he was pure, natural, and corruption-free with no special abilities.
Hao Wenzhe: “I’m just saying it. It’s suffocating if I don’t tell you a solution. Oh, also, this kind of thing is not something a user of the ‘resonance’ branch can do. There are too many targets that a human brain simply can’t withstand that kind of level of calculation.”
“Deeply corrupted by Evil Force?”
“As long as you’re still ‘human’, you can’t do it. I can only say that there is indeed ‘something’ behind Gengsheng Town that is controlling the evil things. Catch the king first to get rid of the pawns*. You won’t be able to outlast just by dealing with the evil things.”
*(擒贼先擒王) Metaphor referring to grasping the key points in doing things. || In this case, it’s literally catching the mastermind behind who’s controlling the evil beings.
“You should give us a proper solution,” Fu Xingchuan interjected.
“They say that an oppressed army fighting with desperate courage is sure to win*. This kind of enemy is tricky. You two need to think of a way,” Hao Wenzhe said mercilessly. “I’m just an ignorant programmer.”
*(哀兵必胜) Idiom referring to when two sides fight, the sadder side, who is bullied, will rise up and resist and will surely win (AKA the underdog comes out on top).
“Compared to this, you’d better hurry up. Xiang Jiang and the others are surrounded by the living and urgently need more manpower.”
Fu Xingchuan: “…Tsk!”
Underground, he angrily retracted his hand. “At least we gain a bit. If we can’t fight these things, then we must put all our strength into escaping.”
“Hao Wenzhe, Lu Xiaohe, continue to check and try to locate the controller.” At any rate, the previous cultural relics had been preserved. Li Nian breathed a sigh of relief.
After figuring out the enemy’s tactics, they could at least find a suitable countermeasure against them. Next, they could see their tricks.
Ten seconds later, Zhong Chengshuo was once again wrapped in a levitation spell as he shot out of a window like a cannonball.
This time, Fu Xingchuan rushed to the front. After deciding on the tactics, he resolutely defended with all his strength, completely ignoring the evil environment. Li Nian quickly discerned the architectural style in the afterimage as the group sprinted in the order of old to new.
Yellow Millet wrapped up the flightless corpses and bit tightly behind the five of them. It changed its shape as it squeezed through the gaps of buildings, like a liquid. The sense of oppression was close to that of an asteroid.
Zhong Chengshuo clenched Yin Ren’s wrist tightly. Countless murals quickly regressed in his field of vision. The wind was sharp in his ears, and the damp air was blowing on his face, but he was calm like never before.
He could hear his heart beating quickly.
No matter how outrageous the evil thing was, as long as it was done step by step, slowly collecting clues, he would gradually determine its habits and characteristics.
…At first, the mist formed and just trapped them here, but didn’t make any movements.
What followed was the gaze and deterrence from evil things, and the hatred and interference from the townspeople. They were like subjects in a petri dish, reacting to various deliberate stimuli.
As a result, everyone in Shian didn’t try to leave the town but instead conducted further investigations.
At the beginning, the evil things didn’t actively gather. Most likely because they realized that their opponents hadn’t flinched until they were faced with Yellow Millet. Then, the evil beings decisively move, preparing to strangle them in a mountain of mist as quickly as possible.
The thinking was correct, but this wasn’t the style of Sunken Society.
If this was a plan from Sunken Society, there was no need to attack the shrimps above ground together. Focusing on eating Fu Xingchuan and Li Nian was a victory enough that would be recorded in the annals of Sunken Society. Inciting ordinary people to do it would instead arouse strong attention from non-metaphysical institutions.
So why exactly was whoever behind this doing this?
The above ground and underground were integrated, frantically expelling outsiders who might pose a threat. It was like…
It was like it was awkwardly guarding this place.
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2 thoughts on “Evil As Humans Ch98”
protecting something maybe?
Thank you for the update ❤️💯