The oil lamp in his hand squeaked as it quivered in his hand. Luo Jian pressed his back against the wall; the ominous premonition encroached upon his heart, growing stronger by the second. I shouldn't stay in this place any longer, Luo Jian decided. Holding the lamp high in the air to observe his surroundings, he cautiously backed away.
Luo Jian's retreat alerted the monster; it gave a low, panicked croak and suddenly rushed towards Luo Jian, planning to throw itself on him again. Luo Jian dimly saw a dark shadow flash before his eyes. Then, it was as if time had stopped. In that split second, he clearly saw the monster's sharp fangs and glowing red eyes in the darkness.
Luo Jian sucked in a startled breath! He didn't know when the knife in his hand started burning, but it scorched his palms; that inexplicable sensation of being controlled by the weapon in his hand overcame him once more. His body was in a trance, his grip on the knife automatically tightened, and he stood in place, facing the enemy head on!
The enemy was within his reach. Luo Jian finally saw the appearance of the monster!
Standing on all fours in front of him was a feline creature with sharp claws, ragged teeth, and a long tail. But that wasn't the worst thing. The terrible part about it was that this monstrous, cat-like creature had no skin. The underlying muscle tissues, organs, and blood vessels were thoroughly exposed for all to see. Many places on its body began to fester, and there was a large hole right in middle of its abdomen. The splanchnic organs were pulled out from inside and they dragged on the floor beneath it. However, the monster paid no heed to any of this; it continued to grin like the Cheshire cat, narrowing its predatory gaze on Luo Jian.
It didn't matter how one described this creature or the language one described it in, this creature looked so weak.
Luo Jian furrowed his brows. However, he was still afraid. Very afraid. But despite being terrified to the point of p.i.s.sing his pants, his face was expressionless. His stomach churned, and the queasy feeling made him want to vomit, but apart from being a bit pale, there weren't any other indications of his fear. He was stoic, the tremble in his hands completely stopped.
In short, Luo Jian wasn't so courageous. The only reason why he was able to remain so calm in the face of this horrendous creature was simply because he was relying on the tactical knife in his hand!
The first reward given to each player who successfully escaped from the chamber was a weapon. The weapon was specially designed for each player, it was a weapon that suited them best. It directed their survival instincts and stimulated their desire to fight, maintaining the rhythm of battle! Instantly transforming a weak noob into war G.o.d!
It was this knife that allowed Luo Jian to become the greatest master of all time. He balanced the knife in his hand and slowly crouched down, placing the oil lamp on the ground. Then, he leaned his body forward, poised ready to attack.
Under the dying flame of the lamp, a monster and a human waged war on one other!
The battle was short-lived, and only one emerged victorious. Clutching his bleeding arm, Luo Jian slammed his back against the wall, heaving and panting. His pulse gradually slowed, and his shallow breaths grew steady. He ripped a piece of his clothing and tied it tight around his fresh wound. The creature's dead body lay at his feet. After dying, its appearance was somewhat awkward. Its body and limbs twisted at unimaginable angles; it looked weird and contorted.
Killing a monster and killing a person felt so different, but when Luo Jian brought his knife down to stab it, he still couldn't help but shut his eyes; the thunderous roars of the monster rang in his ears for a long time. Finally, all that remained was silence.
Luo Jian firmly gripped the knife. The knife in his hand was still burning hot, but even if his searing fingers were red and swollen, Luo Jian didn't release the knife. He reached into his pocket with his other hand and pulled out the pocket watch. The time showed 12:57.
What should he do? Should he just give up on that partner of his? There were only a few minutes left; he didn't have enough time, and he wasn't sure if he had the abilities to find a person in two short minutes.
Because of the knife in his hand, Luo Jian's mind was relatively composed and rational; likewise, the expression on his face was cold and cruel. But Luo Jian was not so cold-hearted in reality. He paused for a moment then went back inside the locked room that held the monster.
The room was quite large, and it appeared to be a warehouse. Several wooden crates were neatly arranged around the place. The boxes were rectangular, each one big and compactly situated, stacking high on top of each other. Luo Jian walked over to a large wooden crate and thrusted his knife downwards. He violently tore the box apart, held up his oil lamp, and peered inside. Luo Jian's face immediately scrunched in disgust.
Another corpse. Similarly to that rotten body found in the wooden box on the deck, this one was a tattered, rotten, and repulsive pile of bones.
Without thinking, Luo Jian forcibly tore open another wooden crate, and it went without saying, another corpse.
Were all of these boxes filled with dead bodies? Luo Jian looked up at the heaps of boxes stacked on top of each other. There were dozens of identical boxes, every one of them, intact and sealed.
"Have all the pa.s.sengers on this ghost ship been put inside these boxes? Then who put them in there?" Luo Jian voiced aloud to himself. There wasn't much time left, and Luo Jian had given up on searching for his partner. Luo Jian wasn't a bad person, but he was by no means a saint. He tried his best to find the other, but since the other couldn't be found, Luo Jian could only reason that his unfortunate partner was too unlucky.
But just when Luo Jian had already given up, he heard a m.u.f.fled noise in the soundless room.
It was so faint, practically inaudible. If he didn't pay attention, he would've missed that feeble drumming, that indistinct pounding sound, but Luo Jian's ears were highly sensitive at the moment, plus, the room was silent. He immediately cupped his ears, searching for the source of the noise, and he soon squatted near a large pile of boxes.
The noise came from one of these boxes, but since the sound was too faint and intermittent, he couldn't pinpoint the exact box. However, now that it came to this point, Luo Jian hesitated. What if the sound was generated by a monster? His arm was still bleeding profusely, and he didn't have the strength to deal with a second one.
The tapping sound came again, and this time, Luo Jian heard it loud and clear; it came directly from the box beside him. That box was crushed under several other larger boxes. Luo Jian thought for a moment, and then held the knife and twirled it, slashing at the air a few times. His knife was perfectly sharp. There was nothing that it couldn't cut, but even so, Luo Jian felt conflicted. The box was thicker and st.u.r.dier, if not even more impenetrable, than the other crates surrounding it. The box was securely nailed shut; Luo Jian probed at it with his knife for a long time, but in the end, he had to pick the nails from the box one by one.
Eventually, Luo Jian managed to remove all of the nails covering one side of the box; not even a second pa.s.sed before the person inside tumbled out. Dressed in a clean hospital gown, dark hair scattered across the floor, his deathly pale face stung Luo Jian's eyes.
"Alan!?" Luo Jian rubbed his eyes and shouted in disbelief. He was too stunned for a moment, then he promptly gathered Alan into his arms, drawing him close to his chest. Alan may have been trapped in that box for too long; he appeared to show symptoms of hypoxia. His breaths were shallow and urgent, shuddering with every intake of air. The ship was freezing and uncontrollable shivers wracked his body. The boy in front of him had pa.s.sed out completely.
Luo Jian was feeling exceedingly distressed looking at Alan; he took off his coat and wrapped it around him. It seemed that Alan was becoming warmer; his teeth stopped chattering and his body wasn't trembling as much. But he stilled huddled into a ball in Luo Jian's arms. Luo Jian gently held onto him as he sat on the ground. He didn't know when it happened; just how could Alan appear here?
Could it be that he was the partner the note spoke of?
Luo Jian's heart instantly clenched, his mind was in shambles. Not too long ago, he mulled over whether he should abandon his partner. He didn't think that the person was actually going to be… But thank goodness! Luo Jian affectionately cradled the person in his arms, thanking that he found him. Fortunately, he didn't give up at the last minute! He didn't kill him! Oh, thank goodness!
The hands of the pocket watch pointed to 13:01. Any later, and Feng Yu Lan would have died! Luo Jian heaved a sigh of relief, but he was still on edge. He hugged Feng Yu Lan in his arms, never planning to let go, as he sat in the corner. He felt tired. Perhaps now was the best time to take a break, but resting in a room filled with dead bodies was unpleasant; it was just too creepy.
Luo Jian glanced at the tall stacks of wooden boxes, then he shifted his gaze to the two wooden boxes that were opened. The putrid stench of rotting corpses, the deadly stillness, and the dark environment gave Luo Jian the dreadful feeling that a second body would soon crawl out of one of the boxes.
Luo Jian shook his head then carefully touched the wound on his arm. The monster had grazed him with its sharp claws, and Luo Jian wasn't sure if the monster claw contained any deadly and deceptive bacteria or viruses, kind of like the T-Virus from Resident Evil. But since he couldn't imagine anything of the sort, Luo Jian decided not to get too caught up in this matter. He untied the piece of cloth wrapped around his wound and moved his arm back and forth. Although it was sore, it was bearable; he could still use it without any problems.
So, Luo Jian extended his arms and effortlessly lifted Feng Yu Lan up with his arms, then he gracefully carried Feng Yu Lan out of the room filled with corpses.
Feng Yu Lan was even lighter than Luo Jian imagined. It might've been because he had to stay in the hospital for a long time because of his injury. He couldn't eat spicy foods or any food he wanted, as most weren't conducive to recovery, and in just a few weeks, poor little Alan lost so much meat. Even he, Luo Jian, could pick him up without any trouble.
Luo Jian's emotions were all over the place as he held onto Feng Yu Lan. Luo Jian was a simple person. For him, there was only white and black, right or wrong. He was the kind of person who could be an attacker or a victim, the type who could a.s.sert dominance or be submissive. When it was time to be strong and courageous, he would puff out his chest and take a stand, he'd be powerful and brave. But when the time for obedience and moderation came, he would be very gentle and reserved.
Feng Yu Lan once made Luo Jian have such a misunderstanding before, and he thought that just maybe they could try to be together. Feng Yu Lan was small and quite childish. They'd always played together as children. Whenever someone would bully him, he would wail and come running back in tears to Luo Jian, and in return, Luo Jian would wave his fists and retaliate against those who bullied Feng Yu Lan.
It felt very similar to an endearing younger brother who was also a pain in the b.u.t.t.
But in the end, they couldn't be together. Feng Yu Lan liked girls. He was especially attracted to cute and helpless-looking younger girls. Luo Jian remembered his ex-girlfriend was that type; he would often see her whenever they went on dates. They only looked like two soft, meek and pet.i.te animals clinging to each other. That scene… Luo Jian helplessly shook his head.
Luo Jian carried Feng Yu Lan down the corridor where he and the monster fought. He walked halfway, paused, and then looked down at the black blood staining the ground. After staring at it for a while, he lifted his head and continued his steps, gradually advancing forward. But he soon stopped again. He frowned; the strange feeling in his mind wouldn't go away. Once again, he bowed his head and looked at the blood on the floor.
Strange…where's the monster's corpse?
Luo Jian was utterly shocked after coming to this realization! He just now discovered that the dead body lying in the pool of blood on the ground had disappeared!
It wasn't dead? Did it just stand up and run away, or did some other creature on this boat drag the body away? Both ways, it didn't matter; Luo Jian was unwilling to chance upon either of the cases. He bit his lip hard, the wound on his arm ached.
We can't stay here, Luo Jian thought. He had to find a safe room without any monsters, without any corpses, without anything out of the ordinary. His first priority was Feng Yu Lan; he had to find a safe place for the both of them. Somewhere where they could take a short break. Somewhere in this oppressive, enclosed chamber.