The moment Dong Zheng saw the Pied Piper’s appearance, Cui Zuojing, who was originally lounging lazily on the bed, immediately sat up, his eyes full of surprises.
Why was he here?!
Talented people who died in the Pure White Realm could have their memories erased and be recycled as NPCs inside the boxes. Could it be that after he left, Fu Zhe…
Cui Zuojing bit his bottom lip and frowned. Then, he sat down again.
No, this couldn’t be Fu Zhe. It was probably one of his soul fragments.
Fu Zhe lost his “conscience”, “morality” and “goodwill” in the last battle eight years ago. This flute player should be one of them.
Cui Zuojing calmed down again and began to silently calculated. He watched Dong Zheng’s every performance with critical eyes, just like watching a movie.
Would this person be a sufficiently qualified helper?
The sound of the flute went on uninterrupted. The Pied Piper played an unknown tune, leading them along the path through the forest. As they gradually progressed, they could see spindle-shaped things hanging on bare trees, like some kind of creature’s cocoon. Some had fallen to the ground long ago, leaving behind whispers of thin, white thread.
A huge, pitched black spider crawled along the web of silk thread overhead, checking the conditions of each cocoon. They continued to walk, traversing through the spider’s territory, and noting the shoes of countless children scattered all over the place. The shoes were all kinds of colors and obviously didn’t belong to this world.
The flute player’s pace was not fast, and it was quite boring pretending to be controlled and blank-headed. Dong Zheng asked Cui Zuojing: [What are the box scripts like in the Pure White Realm?]
Cui Zuojing was also idle and explained: [Myths, legends, or other fantasies, broken universal rules, an unremarkable idea or thought. In short, this is a world where anything is possible, and sometimes the rules of natural science would also change.]
Dong Zheng: [Then the script of this box is the Pied Piper.]
In Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the powerful Pied Piper promised the residents of Hamelin that he would help them deal with a rat infestation. However, the residents refused to pay him the agreed-upon reward, and so the flute player blew his flute, taking away all the townspeople’s children.
A typical dark fairy tale.
The reason why Dong Zheng was not under control was probably because he carried the ranger’s pendant, which had been given to the ranger by the flute player. But, why was Allen still okay?
Cui Zuojing: [Yes, but this is also because the box’s classification is fairy tales, and the level is also quite low, which allows people to easily see the blueprint. In the Pure White Realm, according to the script type, all boxes can be divided into fairy tales, horror, legends, and different degrees of survival challenges. Fairy tales are the simplest. Other types of box scripts are typically calculated by Kether in real time. This makes them difficult to guess, and it is estimated that only Administrator 03 can barely control them.]
Kether, Administrator 03.
Dong Zheng silently remembered these two strange words that appeared in Cui Zuojing’s mouth. From the teenager’s few sentences, he clearly felt that the Pure White Realm was definitely not as simple as it seemed. Not a simple pilgrimage, as the clown has suggested.
Dong Zheng continued to walk forward, and his eyes suddenly widened. An ancient castle stood in the center of the black and white forest, surrounded by a deep moat. The only suspension bridge that could lead to the castle was made of various colors of hair. The hair that belong to various people was entangled, waiting for the castle owner to return.
The flute player led a group of people through the long hair bridge. The dirty water flowing below was like oil, thick and silent without any ripples at all.
The gate of the old castle was open. They walked in, stepping on the crimson carpet. Candles burned quietly on the wall-mounted candlestick as the lizard-head housekeeper dressed in robes bowed to the owner who’d returned home.
The flute continued to sound. The black haired, dark eyed flute player walked forward and two lizard guards led the crowd single file into the dungeon. Dong Zheng and Allen followed, watching as the people entered the cells two by two, before finally mimicking their behavior and entering the last cell.
Soon after the guards locked the doors of the cells one by one, the sound of the flute stopped. All of the people caught in the spell closed their eyes and fell softly on to the ground covered with straw, suddenly lethargic.
Out of the guards’ line of sight, Dong Zheng found a relatively flat place and lay down quickly. Allen also followed suit. They listened as the guards conducted one last quick inspection. Soon, their steps faded away.
Knowing that the people controlled by the Pied Piper would not wake up for a while, the two guards went to stand guard at the prison door again. Dong Zheng opened his eyes, just in time to see Allen secretly raise his head to gaze out the prison cell.
The ten of them were held in five cells. Dong Linhai and the middle-aged woman were in the same room. At this time, the teenager was lying on the side of the straw pile with his eyes closed.
“My God, it’s really the Pied Piper.” Allen turned his head and looked at the corner door where the guards could not be seen. He said to Dong Zheng in a low voice, “Do you know this story?”
“Yes,” Dong Zheng said. Although he hadn’t read a fairy tale in over ten years, the story of the Pied Piper was so famous that he had some impressions.
“To clear the box, we need to complete the final task. You must be cleared by the box to find the door out. The first step is to leave the dungeon.” Allen said, “Fortunately, the two of us aren’t controlled, otherwise it would be troublesome.”
Dong Zheng took out the soldier pawn from his pocket. “I got a pendant in the ranger’s house, presumably for this protective effect. How about you?”
“After I separated from those two, I met a toad, who gave me a hairpin in exchange for two golden beads.” Allen also took out the hairpin inlaid with diamonds the shape of a small crown.
[This is a fusion of two fairy tales.] Cui Zuojing suddenly said, [Henry has three iron hoops holding his heart. In the original version of the Grimm’s fairy tale, the story of the frog prince has another name, called the Iron Chest Henry.]
Dong Zheng really did not know this and secretly noted it down. He and Allen searched the cell, careful not to alarm the guard at the door, but found nothing.
“So what should I do?” Allen thought, frowning at the broken diamonds on the hairpin.
Probably too confident in the flute player’s magic, or perhaps it was that the difficulty of the box was deliberately reduced for beginners, the guards did not retrieve the things from them, and Dong Zheng was still carrying the hunting rifle. The idea of shooting the guards appeared for a moment in his mind and then was rejected.
The sound of gunshot would definitely disturb the others in the castle, so only a fool would use this method.
When the situation was at a stalemate, there came the sounds of the guards and another person talking. Then, the person entered the dungeon. Dong Zheng and Allen quickly fell to the ground and pretended to sleep. He cracked one eye open to secretly observe the situation.
It was the housekeeper lizard who came in. He walked several times in front of the five cells and carefully looked at the people inside, his eyes critical.
Finally, he stopped in front of Dong Linhai’s cell and pointed at the sleeping middle-aged woman. “Her liver is rich in fat. The owner will definitely like it. Take it back and let the chef deal with it.
Dong Zheng thought to himself: Take it back to let the chef deal with it. Could it be that the Pied Piper in this box liked to eat people?
The prison door was opened, and the servant who came with the housekeeper dragged the middle-aged woman out. The housekeeper looked at the other human in the cell, and suddenly said, “Take him too. The young man’s taste must also be delicious.”
So another lizard servant grabbed Dong Linhai’s ankle, followed behind the housekeeper, and walked out of the dungeon with their “food ingredients.”
They were not very careful with the ingredients. When Dong Linhai was dragged, his head knocked heavily on the prison door, but no one noticed the muffled noise.
Two minutes later, the dungeon returned to tranquility again, but the two in the diagonally opposite cell had been taken to the kitchen. Dong Zheng immediately got up and whispered, “Hurry up.”
Allen said, “Of course, but don’t worry too much. The box usually doesn’t arrange absolute plot killing. Under seemingly desperate circumstances, there must be a solution. Although your brother looks a bit stupid, he’s not really stupid and will be okay.”
“I hope that’s true.” Zheng Dong once again searched the cell. He suddenly saw a black thing from the corner move slightly and immediately aimed the gun at it. “Who is it?”
“Don’t kill me!” A sharp voice ran out. The thing that came out of the haystack was a rat wearing a waistcoat with his hands held out. Two small black bean-like eyes stared at Dong Zheng. It was as big as a cat, but the hair on the body was dry and dull. It was very thin, and the originally white vest was dirty.
With tears in its eyes, the rat said pitifully, “I’m too hungry. Can you give me something to eat? When I’m full, I will help you as a reward.”
A plot device?
Allen touched Dong Zheng’s bag and pulled out the biscuits in it. “For example?”
“You definitely want to get out from here. Once I have enough energy, I can dig a hole for you to go out.” The rat turned and pointed to a mouse hole in the corner of the wall that was the size of a baby’s fist, and said, “This hole leads to the storage room. I can enlarge it to let you pass.”
In the story, the Pied Piper was invited to destroy Hamelin’s rat infestation, so how did this rat survive?
Dong Zheng raised the rifle, and Allen gave the rat two packs of biscuits. The rat in the white vest immediately couldn’t wait to unpack it. Its two incisors were very large, and they could only be placed outside once the mouth was closed. Its teeth started to click and the sound of crunching continued, crumbs flying everywhere. With such a mouth, it should be good at digging.
Dong Zheng originally wanted the rat to be quiet, but under the influence of the plot, the guards at the door of the dungeon seemed as if they heard nothing and had become deaf and blind.
In less than a minute, the rat thoroughly destroyed the biscuits into its stomach. It licked its nose, patted off the crumbs on its clothes, and asked, “Is there water?”
Dong Zheng extended the water bottle with only a bit of water left. This was the first time he’d seen such a big and humanoid rat, and he found it strange. The rat was finally full and satisfied. It pawed the hole in which it came through and said, “If you can wait for a moment, I’ll dig you out soon.”
After saying this, the rat in the white vest bit at the edge of the hole and tore out a large piece of cement off the wall. Its sharp claws flashed a cold light and removed a lump of brick.
The two men were stunned. Even if they had a gun in their hands, they wouldn’t be able to resist much if the rat really wanted to do something to them. Looking at the mouth and claws, it would be able to easily tear them apart!
The rat’s demolition was very fast. Within a few breaths, it’d expanded the hole to a size that would allow an adult man to enter. The rat’s entire body was submerged into the wall as it continued to excavate.
Allen quietly nudged Dong Zheng with his elbow, lowered his voice, and said, “Just eating two biscuits and it’s already like this. If it eats meat, then the castle would be demolished in less than a minute. Now I know why they wanted to get rid of the rats.”