[Clearance mission: Survive 72 hours.
(41:39:21/72:00:00)]

[Additional task: Find the truth about the River God’s Curse.
(70%/100%)]

Grandma Sang had left.

Zhou Guang closed the taskbar, “Time is short and the task is heavy.
Let’s split up and meet here before dark.”

Liang Xi, “I agree.
One group will go to the mountain to look for Bao’er’s body, and the other will go to Huang Youcheng’s house to look for clues.
But how exactly shall we be distributed?”

Bai Lixin, “I can do either.
If you guys are scared, I can go up the mountain.
I’m a bit more familiar with it.”

Xia Chi held back the fear of digging graves, “No, I’ll go to the mountain.
Brother Xin, you go to Huang Youcheng’s house.
Your powers of observation are above ours, so you might find details that we can’t.
I know the way to the mountains, so leave the physical work to us.”

Bai Lixin, “Okay, you have the highest force value, so you’ll be able to dig faster.”

Zhou Guang, “Then I’ll accompany Xia Chi to the mountain.”

Bai Lixin: “What about Liang Xi?”

Liang Xi, “I can do anything.”

Bai Lixin, “You three go to the mountain.
It’s still a little over three hours before dark, and it’s a two-hour round trip.
It will take less time to dig if there are more people.”

Liang Xi, “Okay, I’ll listen to you.”

Li Cancan looked at Bai Lixin with an embarrassed expression, “I’m the only one left.
Will I be a drag if I follow you?”

Bai Lixin looked at Li Cancan, “No, you’re very strong.”

Li Cancan blushed, “Well, thank you.”

The distribution was quickly completed, and everyone moved without delay.

Xia Chi and the other two had just left when Bai Lixin and Li Cancan packed up and were also ready to go.

Not long after they had come out, three people came over from the next room.

It was the blacksmith, the skinny man, and Huang Mao.

In the [Friends] discussion group, Xia Chi’s avatar lit up.

Xia Chi: [Brother Xin, there are several players following us.]

Li Cancan: [There are some here too!]

Xia Chi: [Fuck, I see.
They finally came to their senses and realized it was useless to sit around and wait for death.
So, they came to freeload off of us?]

The blacksmith was about 185 cm, which was the same height as Bai Lixin, but because he was bigger and stronger, he appeared to be taller.

The blacksmith stood in the middle of the courtyard, looking at Bai Lixin with judgmental and arrogant eyes.

He saw Bai Lixin come out, and he stepped forward.
He then looked up at the seemingly slender but in fact very tall youth, “Bai Lixin, we are going to investigate Huang Youcheng’s house, would you like to join us?”

In the live broadcast room.

[He is so average yet so confident.
Who gave him the confidence to treat Bai Lixin so lightly?]

[Since you asked the question in good faith, I will answer as to why.
It’s probably because that 300% force value gave him the illusion that he was very good.]

[Then let him catch a red spider to compare.
God Xin has knocked out three red spiders so far.
I’d like to call him the “red spider killer”.]

[How did he know the name Huang Youcheng? I haven’t seen them do anything except rest in their rooms ever since they finished their mandatory work.]

[I’ve seen it from other live stream perspectives.
The blacksmith stood outside the window and overheard their conversation.]

[Oh, so he’s not just a collector of leftovers but an eavesdropper as well.]

[These people obviously have bad intentions and probably want to steal experience.]

[There were many opponents, and the game stated that they could not attack players.
There is nothing Bai Lixin can do, even if he wanted to.]

[They’re disgusting, like flies!]

Bai Lixin gave the blacksmith a look, “Okay.”

In the discussion group, Bai Lixin typed the message, [Let them follow.
If they want to dig, let them dig.
No need to rob them.]

Xia Chi: [But I’m not reconciled.
This is the clue we found.
Why should we give it to them!]

Zhou Guang: [Listen to Bai Lixin.
I presume the other side is planning to deliberately provoke us.
We don’t know how strict the system’s so-called “attacking players” are yet.
If physical contact with anger is considered “attacking a player,” then we will be the ones to suffer.]

Liang Xi: [Zhou Guang is right.]

Xia Chi: [Fuck, that’s a cheap move on their part.
If we don’t stop them, they can get the stuff before us because they have more people.
If we stop them, we might be attacked by the system.
It’s all in their favor any way you look at it.
Don’t worry, brother; I know what to do, I won’t be impetuous.]

Bai Lixin: [How many people came to your side?]

Xia Chi: [5 people.]

Liang Xi: [I guess so many people went just to block Xia Chi.]

As the discussion in the group ended, Bai Lixin looked at Li Cancan, who looked a little scared, then clicked on her private chat box.

Bai Lixin: [Li Cancan, you are fast, so go to Xia Chi’s side.
There’s only one path up the mountain in the early stages and they left not long ago, so you’ll be able to catch up.]

Li Cancan: [But then you’ll be left on your own.]

Bai Lixin: [Aren’t three players still here? You go over there and help me keep an eye on Xia Chi.]

Li Cancan gritted her teeth: [I know.
I’m only holding you back by following you.
I’ll help you stop Xia Chi.]

Bai Lixin: [Wait until we get to Huang Youcheng’s house and then leave.]

Li Cancan: [Okay, I understand.]

When they were almost at Huang Youcheng’s door, Bai Lixin gave Li Cancan a wink.

She immediately let out an “oops” and covered her stomach, “Oh no, I think I ate something bad at lunch and my stomach hurts.
Sorry, I can’t keep you guys company, I have to go.”

With a speed of 300%, she ran out of sight in a whoosh, not caring how poor her excuse was.

The blacksmith froze for several seconds before reacting.
He wanted to ask his teammates to chase Li Cancan, but Li Cancan ran too fast.
There was only an afterimage left, and it was impossible to see which direction she was running.

The blacksmith turned and gave Bai Lixin a fierce glare, “What the hell are you guys up to?”

Bai Lixin shrugged and walked into Huang Youcheng’s house, “*People have three urgencies.
Can you stop them? Are you guys still going in?”

*a Chinese saying, which means that a person must have an urgent need to urinate, defecate, and fart in a day.*

The three players glanced at each other and hurriedly followed Bai Lixin into the courtyard.

A clear stream of water moved like a small snake, swimming along Bai Lixin’s fingertips and finally wrapping around the other party’s neck, hidden in the sacrificial clothes.

Dijia secretly observed Bai Lixin’s expression.

It was a dangerous move, as the stream of water could strangle the slender neck with just a little force.
However, the young man did not try to escape, nor did he show the slightest sign of fear. 

His favorite pair of eyes looked around carefully, unaffected by any outside influence.

Either he trusted him absolutely, or he cared nothing for himself.

Dijia smiled lightly; either way, it seemed to intrigue him.

The stream of water turned into a palm that brushed across the other’s collarbone and landed on the slender neck, “I wrapped a stream of water around your neck so I could hear what you were saying without you making a sound.”

Dijia, “I can help you kill these eyesores if you want.”

Bai Lixin opened his mouth and said wordlessly, “No need.”

Dijia snorted, “Excessive kindness will only become a stumbling block on the road to success.
I had no idea you were so stupid.”

Bai Lixin looked around and replied carelessly, “No, I don’t want you to get your hands dirty.”

The current caressing his neck abruptly stopped for a moment before moving slowly.

Dijia silently molded the hand back into a necklace of water.
A small drop of water splashed out of it and into the air, bursting into a flower shape with a “pop” before evaporating into the air.

Dijia, “Ahem, that makes sense.”

It seems that the Huang family home had been uninhabited for a long time.
The black gate was hanging crookedly, and the plaque on it had become tattered with age, and the words “Huang House” could be seen.

The courtyard was in the shape of a quadrangle, with a small door in the wall connecting it to the backyard.

This courtyard would still look very grand if it went under restoration, let alone thirty years ago.

Bai Lixin looked around before entering the courtyard.
Not far from this house was Grandma Sang’s Coffin Home.

From what Zhou Guang said, the Coffin Home was Grandma Sang’s home, and she turned into a coffin home ever since she couldn’t find Sang Bao’er’s body.

She would go out to collect corpses every day in the hope that one of them would be Bao’er’s.

The courtyard was overgrown with weeds, and a huge mulberry tree was planted next to it.
After thirty years under the elements, the mulberry tree’s branches were so bushy that they pressed into the front of the house, crushing it crooked and revealing the red bricks, grass, and wood ties inside.

Bai Lixin had just approached the tree when a high, abrupt chirping suddenly came from the tree.

A few crows stood on the branches with fluttering wings, their dark eyes staring straight at them.

Huang Mai kicked at a broken basket, “Brother, what on earth are we looking for in this shitty place where the birds don’t shit?”

The blacksmith looked at Huang Mao as if looking at a fool, “Of it to look for clues.
Are you stupid? Huang Youcheng is the person who killed Bao’er.”

“Bao’er married Huang Youcheng before she killed herself a month later.”

“If she died out of resentment, it should have been on the first day of her marriage.
If she was delaying her death for the sake of the village, she could have killed herself after the village got the food.”

“Why wait for a month before killing herself? What happened during this period must have something to do with Sang Bao’er’s death and the River God curse.”

“Sang Bao’er and Huang Youcheng briefly stayed here for a few days before they died, so maybe it was something that happened here that gave Sang Bao’er the idea to die with Huang Youcheng.”

Huang Mao suddenly understood, “So that’s what happened, Brother.
You are so clever.”

The skinny man agreed, “Well, the boss is strong and smart.
He has both wisdom and strength.”

Dijia snorted.

While the three of them were bragging, Bai Lixin had already circled the courtyard.
All the houses were in disrepair, but there was one house with a lock left on the door.

The lock had long since rusted and would be difficult to open even with a key.

Bai Lixin was debating whether to pick the lock or just kick in the door when the blacksmith’s voice came from behind him.

“What, you can’t open it? Get out of the way, I’ll help you.”

The blacksmith strode up to Bai Lixin and, without saying a word, kicked the door.

There was a loud bang, and the door shook twice.
A rustle of loess fell from the edge of the doorway, and then the door fell inwards and onto the floor, sending dust flying.

A myriad of dust, like popcorn fresh out of a pressure cooker, rushed towards the group.

An invisible mist of water instantly blocked Bai Lixin’s body, helping to isolate him from all the dust.

While the others were blinded by the dust, Bai Lixin had already crossed into the room.

It was a bedroom.
Bai Lixin didn’t expect to see a table and chairs made of golden heather wood in such a small, backward village.

On the table were delicate dioramas, and a jeweler’s box filled with jewelry lay open.

Inside the bedroom was a Western-style bed with a large red mandarin duck quilt that had lost some of its color.

At the bottom of the bed were two pairs of exquisite felted slippers and a pair of red embroidered shoes.

The slippers were big and small, with one pair for men and one pair for women.

A wardrobe stood by the wall, and Bai Lixin was about to open it when a stream of water went to the handle before him.
The water quickly rolled around the brass handle, and the dust on it disappeared in an instant.

Bai Lixin’s eyes flickered slightly as he placed his fingertips on the clean handle and gently opened the wardrobe.

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