Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 126: Those Things
Even if a cat had a Ph.D., with the nape of its neck being held, it was still subjected to the whims of fate.
Dr. Cat was well-behaved. It hung softly in Yin Ren’s hand, looking like a black cloth bag. It didn’t mind being held while it grumbled and complained. Mr. Meiqiu swore all kinds of indecent words and attacked all humans present indiscriminately—it could be seen that humans weren’t ashamed to talk about cat bell*, and the same applies in reverse.
*Literally refers to a cat’s collar, but metaphorically refers to something that reveals or exposes the true nature or intentions of a person or thing. || In this context, Meiqiu is cursing up a storm, just like humans would do when angry, so regardless of species, it seems they’re the same in this aspect.
On the contrary, Yin Ren couldn’t listen to it anymore. His smile gradually stiffened, and he carefully put down the cat that was crazily spewing vulgar words.
Dr. Cat wasn’t stupid and didn’t run away immediately. It climbed up high, looking down at the four shallow humans with its black tail swishing back and forth.
“Do you want to act together?” Yin Ren pretended as if nothing had happened. “It’s more efficient and in line with Shian’s cultural spirit.”
Zhong Chengshuo kept his mind on his new task of “being lazy”. He took a step back and half-hid behind Yin Ren, acting professionally. Luo Wanxiang looked them up and down and murmured something.
“We have no problem. It’s just this cat… Ah no, this Mr. Doctor belongs to Yandu…” She scratched her head.
Dr. Cat had already started licking his paws and washing his face.
“I’m going to find my companion.”
It raised its turquoise eyes, and its two pupils widened roundly in the shadows.
“The emotions of the two men are stable, and the communication facilities on their bodies are in operation. They must have contacted their rear commander.”
It took a few seconds for Yin Ren to realize that “men” was referring to him and Zhong Chengshuo.
“The rear commander of Linnan is also a portable AI. If I join you, the distribution of rear commanders will be seriously unbalanced.” Dr. Cat bowed his head, stretched out his hind feet, and licked the fur on his stomach vigorously.
“But it’s dangerous to run around.” Luo Wanxiang reminded as kindly as she could.
Dr. Cat: “Bugs react slowly. I usually eat them as snacks… Are you humans afraid of crispy fried chicken if it were magnified hundreds of times?”
Yin Ren swallowed reflexively, causing the black cat to twitch its ear and glance at him.
“Of course, insects are a good source of protein. You can also play with them before eating. You should give it a try.”
Yin Ren couldn’t help but recall the rich insects nearby for a while and choke on his saliva.
Zhong Chengshuo patted him on the back and turned to the cat. “Your companions are near the kidney. Just in case, please keep in touch with us… Do you need additional equipment?”
Rear commanders often required mechanical equipment assistance, but there were no mechanical traces on this cat, so he didn’t know how the Yandu group usually communicated.
After the competition, it would be nice if this cat could be bribed with some canned food. Zhong Chengshuo especially wanted to do an interview with it.
“If necessary, I will take the initiative to contact you,” Dr. Cat replied in a sharp voice. “I don’t want equipment. I’m here because I’m thirsty… Quickly, share me some clean water.”
The humans looked at each other. Zhong Chengshuo took the lead by taking out a disposable water cup and poured half a glass of water.
Dr. Cat drank it clean in one breath. It looked at Zhong Chengshuo for a while, then flicked its tail and ran away silently.
Even if it was a small animal that swore a lot, cute animals were always reassuring. After the commotion caused by the black cat, Sang Jie finally calmed down. Her blind eyes turned in the direction Dr. Cat had left, but she didn’t know what she had “seen”.
As she turned around, Yin Ren secretly snorted.
Sang Jie’s symptoms of being harassed by the little monsters were mild, and it seemed that it wasn’t because of her “talent”.
Compared to when she was in the Fu residence, she had a more exaggerated bone necklace around her neck.
The necklace was undoubtedly made of human bone, and it had a history of more than two hundred years. The bones were carved with fine runes and emitted a faint aura that was much the same; most likely, they belonged to her ancestors.
The white monsters were repulsed by these bones, and only a few were willing to get close to Sang Jie.
Yin Ren found something interesting. The decision to “merge” was right.
The abdomen of the corpse.
It didn’t take long for Ge Tingting’s “rational plan” to slowly collapse.
If they moved forward haphazardly, their bodies would become smaller. If they didn’t constantly discern auras while walking, they could be easily attacked by giant insects that suddenly appear. However, having experienced the battle royale in Gengsheng Town, Ge Tingting had adapted well to these little things.
But there were no teammates in Gengsheng Town who were dragging her down…
Originally, she secretly expected Fu Tianyi to use his high combat abilities, but as a result, the elite of the Fu family collapsed first.
Time reversed half an hour ago.
Not long into the action, in addition to scavenging insects, they encountered misshapen monsters and also peculiar white creatures.
They emitted a faint, menacing aura as the translucent white hyphae spread around; their eyeball-like structure was always wet. These monsters were constantly wriggling in the crevices of the carrion, swimming around maliciously.
Ge Tingting accidentally touched a little bit of it, but she didn’t have any strange reactions. If anything, she became even more passionate about this competition—she was determined to become stronger and stay in Shian, where she would never have to worry about food, clothing, or good treatment.
This enthusiasm was so big that it became a bit abnormal, and it almost turned into fear of “What if I get fired”, but in general, it had a positive effect.
Auntie Tao and Huang Jin weren’t too different. They just took out their phones and stared at someone’s picture on the screensaver intently.
Huang Jin’s state was worse though; he was out of his mind.
Fortunately, Comrade Huang Jin, had been bitten by a snake, feared even rope for ten years*. After his emotions were amplified by the fleshy xanthium and Kong Wanqing, the “tranquility charm” was replaced with an “explosive spirit weapon” and became the thing that the spirit smith was best at making.
*(一朝被蛇咬十年怕井绳) Idiom referring to once someone has experienced a traumatic event, they will be very cautious and fearful in similar situations in the future (AKA once bitten, twice shy).
He dipped his fingertips in blood and drew a tranquility rune on his arm. The fresh blood exuded a faint red light. Under the red light, Huang Jin tried to take a few deep breaths and finally didn’t collapse on the spot while holding the screensaver of Ding Lizi.
Even though he seemed to want to.
A few steps away, someone else had collapsed…
Fu Tianyi almost fell. He barely leaned against the flesh wall and slid woefully to the ground. Among everyone in the group, he was the most affected.
The rookie of the Fu family had scattered hair and dirty clothes and had long since lost his initial composure. He leaned close to the wall, hugging his knees, while breathing heavily to the point of no return.
“Be careful of overbreathing.” Auntie Tao stared at the phone as she reminded him sternly.
As if ignoring the situation, Fu Tianyi‘s pupils trembled wildly, and his breathing echoed constantly in the darkness. The more he lost control, the more the white monsters crawled onto him. He took out several strange and odd-looking spirit weapons to drive them away, but they were completely ineffective.
Half a minute later, this person was covered in what looked like three feet of snow, full of little writhing white monsters.
Ge Tingting tried to use foreign objects to pull off the white monsters, but those objects simply passed through and had no effect. She didn’t want to touch them directly, so she grabbed Huang Jin’s sleeve and dragged him in front of Fu Tianyi.
“Put a tranquility talisman on him.” The tranquility talisman couldn’t peel off those little monsters, but looking at Huang Jin’s state, it had some effect on maintaining sanity.
If she saw someone dying without trying to save them, her points would certainly be deducted, was what Ge Tingting was thinking.
Huang Jin didn’t save him immediately. He looked at Fu Tianyi faintly as several white monsters circled Huang Jin’s neck. Their white eyes poked into his collar.
“He’s very attached to his family, almost having a worship-like reverence for the Fu family.” Huang Jin observed Fu Tianyi’s thoughts and said, “This attachment makes him particularly nervous, afraid of losing at home—the more he worries about the future, the less he can perform at the moment. That’s what this kind of person refers to, right?”
Ge Tingting: “…Draw the tranquility rune and leave him alone.”
Huang Jin’s tone was off. While he was usually a bit harsh, he had never been so direct before.
“Do you still want to take him with us? Be careful. He can hurt us.” Huang Jin still hadn’t started drawing the runes and kept muttering loudly. “We’re not monsters like Yin Ren and Zhong Chengshuo, so it’s good to take care of ourselves.”
“How do you know the result if you don’t try?” Ge Tingting hurriedly explained, “This is a competition, not a mission. We’d better take it seriously.”
“Why are you acting so serious? Have you forgotten what Shian did to you? You’re not an adult in the strict sense yet they sent you to such messy hellholes.”
“I don’t understand. If I have committed a crime, I may grumble privately if I get punished, but you don’t even have any criminal responsibility. Why do you have to seek out suffering? Are you such a masochist?”
The resentment in Huang Jin’s tone became more obvious. His breathing became faster, and a stream of tears fell from the white monster on his body.
Ge Tingting was startled.
She knew that Huang Jin was in the wrong state, but just now, the thought of “What should I do if I’m abandoned by Shian” swarmed up. Something in her heart seemed to be ignited, and it exploded and scattered in an instant. From an angle that Ge Tingting couldn’t see, the white monsters on her body had accelerated its squirming.
Some words tumbled out of her heart and went on a rampage in her head, trying to find an outlet…
“You have the skills to survive, and as long as you don’t mention it, no one will be able to see your abnormality! If you hadn’t committed a crime, you could easily find a job and make a living. What about me?”
The AI’s voice was extremely calm, but Ge Tingting’s facial features were a little distorted.
“What about me?” she asked again, holding up her phone. “Low education, communication barrier, no money, or even any skills. My fate can be seen in just a glance. Without this, I can’t even communicate with you normally. Shian is the best opportunity of my life!”
“Do you think I’m not aware of the danger? Do you think I’m not afraid of death? There’s no reason for Shian to take care of me for nothing. The only way to ensure safety is to keep training, learning, and becoming stronger. Even climb higher and never be eliminated!”
Vaguely, Ge Tingting had a feeling of stepping into air.
Her reluctance to the current situation continued to turn into panic about being abandoned, and the little white monsters gradually marched towards her.
“There has to be a limit to being brave. When a person dies, that’s it.” Huang Jin clenched his phone tightly. In the muddy darkness, Ding Lizi’s photo on his screensaver was particularly conspicuous.
“It’s easy for you to preach. What right do you have to educate me like this? Weren’t you the one who wanted to die back then?”
Ge Tingting knew that she shouldn’t have said this, but her head was buzzing, and she just wanted to pour out the emotions that she couldn’t carry. She couldn’t control the movements of her fingers at all.
Huang Jin stood straight, made a long face, and stopped painting the tranquility charm. “Alright, do whatever you want. If someone brings up some nonsense, they can deal with it themselves. I don’t care anymore—this Huang kid is just being dramatic.”
The white monsters on her shoulders and neck kept tightening, as if they were adding a white collar to her. Eventually, it kept going up and was about to completely cover Ge Tingting’s eyes.
This whole time, Auntie Tao was unusually quiet. The white hyphae had entered her mouth, but she stared at the phone screen as if it had nothing to do with her, without even blinking. Symbolizing a snowman, Fu Tianyi was still curled up in a corner of the flesh wall, and his breathing gradually became irregular.
A sharp cat call cut through the darkness.
The black cat leaped out from the shadows and stepped lightly on the white monsters. Dr. Cat swept the ground with his tail, his fur standing on end, as he let out a hostile hiss.
The little monster, under some unknown influence, took a few steps back and shrank.
“Humans, look into my eyes!”
The black cat let out a huge purr, and the sound directly hit everyone’s heads. The low-frequency, soft purr was like a warm flannel blanket rubbing against the tight nerves.
As if their entire bodies were soaked in warm water, Ge Tingting suddenly relaxed, and most of the nameless fire suddenly dissipated. Huang Jin’s face looked a lot better, and Auntie Tao’s eyes became focused.
“Meiqiu. The enemy just now… Is it emotional amplification…?” Fu Tianyi struggled to stand up.
“I knew that there were ‘those things’ here,” Meiqiu said in a low voice. “Highly social animals like you are troublesome with too many messy emotions.”
Ge Tingting and Huang Jin subconsciously wanted to look at each other, but the two realized something and staggered their gaze awkwardly.
Outside the Corpse Cage.
“The cat of the ‘Infinite’ branch is a very capable science post. How interesting.” Fu Xingchuan touched his chin. “You did a lot of research, right?’
The Yandu’s branch coach, Zhou Gong, scratched his chubby face and smiled benevolently.
“We didn’t study it specifically. It was just luck. We accidentally discovered that the abilities of the ‘Infinite’ branch are not easily interfered with by the abilities of the ‘Resonance’ branch… Those little things have abilities that are somewhat similar in nature to ‘Resonance’.”
“Isn’t this a foregone conclusion? Does Yandu want to win that badly?” Fu Xingchuan raised his eyebrows. They all knew about the “things” in the Corpse Cage.
“Oh, how can you say that? I just did a little homework.” Zhou Gong laughed even more heartily.
Qiao Shang, the “#1 Priestess” who had been quiet all this time, finally spoke up.
“Fu Xingchuan, the Corpse Cage is a good topic. I thought you would focus on insects and small evil creatures… By making ‘those things’ a test question directly, how did you convince those above?”
Fu Xingchuan scratched the back of his head.
“Sang Jie is a shaman practitioner, and her family has always been aware of ‘those things’. Meiqiu is an Infinite ability user, and due to the mutual restraint of abilities and species differences, he can immunize against the effects of ‘attachment’. We also have several interesting kids on our side.”
“They will collide, and there may be new discoveries—all of you are people who have been specially trained in the Archive. ‘Attachment’ is the weakest among ‘those things’, isn’t it?”
Qiao Shang frowned. “That’s right, but it’s still too early for them.”
“That’s not necessarily true. The enemy doesn’t care if it’s too early or not.” Fu Xingchuan rubbed the stubble on his chin and said in a brisk tone, “Just an intuition that things will be changing soon.”
Qiao Shan looked over suspiciously, but Fu Xingchuan didn’t continue speaking.
He just stretched out a hand and pressed it on the corpse.
“Not bad, the temporary teams are basically formed. The real assessment can now begin.”
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