Chapter 18 First Multiplayer Scenario 2
After the notification given by the system audio, Feng Bujue went to check the game menu again. He noticed that the Quest Tab had been unlocked. This was also the first time that he had officially accepted a main quest. The previous scenarios, for both Training and Survival Modes, had basically been conducted in enclosed buildings, and the scale of the scenario was very small. There was not much space for the plot to branch and expand; therefore, the system did not waste time to create Side Missions. However, the Team Survival Mode was based in a large map with a high degree of freedom. Thus, the system had to come up with a Main Quest to guide the players to the ultimate goal, or else the players might not understand what to do.
After expanding the Quest Tab, Feng Bujue saw a new window appear to cover up the game menu. The window explained the quest in more detail; the explanation for this main quest was simple, "Search the city for the Demonic Door."
"So, it's a fantasy-based scenario." Feng Bujue glanced at the quest details before closing the menu.
"But the city is so big. This is like finding a needle in a haystack." Wang Tanzhi sighed.
"The hint that the quest gave us shouldn't be the 'door' but the term 'demonic'," Feng Bujue said as he wandered to an automatic ticket selling machine. Studying the map of the subway that was printed on the machine, he said, "There are, in total, twelve routes for this city's subway, and even though they are marked with different colors…"
His finger traced the intertwining routes on the map before finally stopping on one of the locations.
"On this map that is crisscrossed with multiple routes, there is this area…" He opened his arms and pressed them on the map to block off the other parts that were surrounding the area. "This area where the five straight lines intersected to form a geometric shape, a pentagram."
"Brother, isn't that a bit of a stretch?" Mr. Loneliest said. "If you look closely, you might find more shapes amid that mess of lines."
"The moment my finger stopped meant that I'd already finished my search," Feng Bujue answered, and he turned around to explain. "Before we got on this floor, be it inside the subway or on the platform, we could only see the name and layout for this station. This kind of complete route map for the city-wide subway routes is not available on the lower floors.
"Before the system audio appeared, we did not run into any monsters or waste much time. In fact, we have not done anything significant, but there has to be a reason we've triggered the mission. If there was no triggering condition for this mission, then we would have received the mission when we were still on the train. Why would the system wait until we reached this floor to give us the mission?
"Therefore… the only possibility is that there is something on this floor that is absent on the lower floors. The information that is provided by this something can help point us toward the Demonic Door that is mentioned by the quest."
He paused, turned around, and used his left palm to pat at the route map that was printed on the ticket-selling machine. "There are twelve subway routes, and there are more than several thousand roads on the surface. If this subway route map is meaningless, then the city street map is even more so, unless we can find a tourist map that clearly points us to this 'Demonic Door'."
He took a deep breath. "In conclusion, if no one can come up with an argument that is a counter to my analysis or has a different suggestion that is based on logic and evidence… please follow me to this area that I've marked out on the map. If I'm mistaken, then we can restructure our thoughts and have another discussion. But if I'm right, I'll get the Skill Point while we clear the quest; it's a win-win situation for all."
Feng Bujue finished his argument in one go. The crowd was dumbfounded, other than Wang Tanzhi. He had become used to his friend's way of handling thing when they were young.
Feng Bujue's analytical skill was a side product of his reading habit. He was a very clever person. When he was sixteen, he had scored 138 on the IQ test given by the school. The left and right sides of his brain both had sixty-nine points, a quintessential balanced thinker. Compared to the 'super genius' with over 140 IQ, he was considered a member of the general public, but his observation, memory, logic, and analytical skills were leagues above the rest.
Just like Conan and Mr. Sherlock Holmes said, a good detective not only needed to have a deep store of knowledge and experience—he needed to have a correct analytical skill. In the books, Sherlock Holmes kept promoting his skill of 'deductive analysis', and Feng Bujue was his most loyal fan. His reading habit had actually been influenced by another of Holmes' theories, which was to treat knowledge as a supply and one's brain as library. The unimportant stuff had to be cleared away, the sub-optimally important stuff was placed in the attic, and the important stuff had to be kept nearby.
This might appear to be an idealistic memory habit and way of thinking, but through certain training, it was practicable; Feng Bujue was the perfect example of that. There were many things in the world that sounded simple on paper, like becoming a muscle man after doing so many sit ups at home daily, learning a new language by memorizing so much vocabulary daily, becoming a best-selling web novelist by writing so many words each day… If there was a ranking to the thoughts that mankind used to hypnotize themselves, these would be at the top of the ranking.
When a person faced this kind of exercise that relied on self-discipline, the probability of stopping halfway was very high. Then again, there had to be a few strange specimens that pulled through, and Feng Bujue was one of those. In the end, he had managed to turn reading and detective work into his habit and hobby.
"Er… Brother Feng has a point. It is much better for us to follow his analysis than roaming the streets of the city randomly." The second half of the statement by Long Aomin was meant for Mr. Loneliest.
"Ah… Oh, o… okay." Mr. Loneliest eventually recovered. In reality, he did not really understand what Feng Bujue was talking about, but there was this impression that was formed. "Even though I don't quite understand it, the man looks and sounds believable."
The group of five immediately set off. Long Aomin stood at the front, and Feng Bujue followed behind him to tell him which exit to use to get back to the surface and then to provide him with a general direction.
After passing a wide corridor, Feng Bujue noticed something akin to an Easter Egg. Amid the advertisement flyers that were stuck to street, there was one that advertised the game, Thriller Paradise.
At the end of the street, the group turned right. Then, they saw the exit at the end of the ascending slope. In the middle of the slope was an escalator, but it had stopped moving. On both sides of it were stairs for pedestrians. They walked up the stairs and headed to the surface. The moonlight was weak, and there were few lights in the city. Many cars were deserted on the street, but none of them could work. The lights on the neon signboards and the lamps of the buildings were off, and only the streetlights were still functioning.
Even though there were no moving vehicles, the air was filled with staleness. There was a fog that blurred their vision and made it difficult for them to see things a certain distance away.
When they were inside the subway station, there had at least been a roof and walls around them. Furthermore, they had been underground, and that had lent a sense of security. But once they returned to the open surface, the strange atmosphere around them… that eerily-quiet city, had created a smothering sense of pressure.
Of the five people, four of their Terror Points started to fluctuate. They were moving between five percent to fifteen percent, and the various symptoms of fear materialized on their bodies.
"We'll need to walk down this path and turn left after four blocks. Then we'll reach our destination after walking ahead for some time." Feng Bujue's voice sounded normal like he was not affected by the environment at all. He quickly familiarized himself with the street signs that were visible and formed the route in his mind.
Long Aomin gripped his shield and nodded. He led the group to move forward. None of them spoke; they were on guard as they tried to keep their movement close to the curb, which was lit by the streetlights.
There was something that sounded like the breathing of a beast, low whispering, and hard to catch cackling coming from the dark. They could hear voices, but they could not tell where they came from.
Long Aomin would turn back to look every ten meters. The more he studied, the more curious he felt.
"By the way, Brother Feng… you should be involved in some kind of high-risk career in real life, right?" Long Aomin asked. Through his journey to level ten, he really had not met a player like Feng Bujue before. Fear was something that was hard to hide, but Feng Bujue did not show a trace of fear, not even in his eyes. Therefore, he was not pretending to be unfazed; he was truly fearless. Based on his sharp analysis from before, Long Aomin even suspected that Feng Bujue might be some kind of Special Ops officer in real life.
"I'm an artist," Feng Bujue answered casually like he was telling the truth. Wang Tanzhi was too lazy to poke through his lies. Based on his knowledge, Feng Bujue would only give two answers if asked about his job, artist or a great scribe. Neither was close to the truth.
Long Aomin was not expecting that answer, and he did not know how to reply, but Mr. Loneliest jumped in. "What kind of person refers to themselves an artist?"
"Then allow me to rephrase," Feng Bujue said. "I am someone working in the arts who possess a great eye for beauty and skill to create wonderful pieces of artistry."
"That is merely an explanation of the term artist!"
"Well, compared to calling myself an artist, doesn't that sound more humbling?"
"What‽ You only sound cockier, okay‽"
Miss Saddest chuckled. Mr. Loneliest pouted and complained to her, "If he did not act like this, do you think I'd say these things?"
Right then, Feng Bujue suddenly stopped moving and retrieved Mario's Wrench from his backpack. "Hmm… We've just loosened the atmosphere, and the troublesome thing has arrived."
Long Aomin saw the two shadows flickering in the dark the same time as Feng Bujue did. He had only seen the shape of them and had no idea what they were, but he was eighty percent confident that they were hostile monsters.
"Based on the size and shape, they looked like deformed babies. Their arms are small scythes, and they move fast. In terms of numbers… there should be more than one." Feng Bujue described them plainly and moved toward the darkness while holding his wrench. At the time, he had no idea that when he said those words, his sleuthing mastery activated.