Outside the ‘game’.
Edited by: Sparrow
After experiencing so many games, Lu Chu was already clear about this process, and very used to it.
Once he returned to that pure white room, with screens floating in midair, he looked down at the time on his bracelet — 144’59”.
The total number of minutes in 24 hours was 4,410 minutes. However, the amount of time that Lu Chu had accumulated hadn’t even reached half this number.
A long battle meant that while heading towards the ending, everybody would repeatedly encounter danger. Furthermore, they would only be able to reach the finish line after repeating this process hundreds of times.
Moreover, they didn’t know whether that finish line would have a path leading towards a new future.
Reeling back his wandering thoughts, Lu Chu quietly waited. When the door to the illusion appeared, with the time on his bracelet changing to 139’59”, he didn’t hesitate before stepping through it.
Stepping out the door, his line of sight widened, and Lu Chu calmly looked around. Strangely enough, the illusion this time was a night scene.
Apart from the first time he stepped into the illusion, Lu Chu rarely saw an illusion that featured a night scene. He still remembered that the first illusion he experienced was a street filled with various snack stalls, with the fragrance of various foods spreading through the brightly lit night alley.
The illusion this time seemed to be depicting a lantern festival. There were several strangely shaped lanterns decorating the park. They were of numerous different sizes, with large ones being twice as large as a human, while the small ones could be the size of a child. The lanterns came in many different shapes; from animals to plants to well-known cartoon characters. There were even some that came in the shape of small people found in New Year Paintings.
Lu Chu looked up and noticed that there were also small colorful lanterns hanging above his head. Some of these lanterns were in the usual round shape, while others were in the shape of the stars and the moons. In a childish manner, they were connected to each other by a string, intertwined, and strung from one tree to another. Small lights decorated the bushes by the side of the road, dressing all of them up as cute little Christmas trees.
Moonlight illuminated the deep blue sky. The galaxy was glowing, with little bright dots decorating the night sky. Such scenery was akin to a beautiful scroll painting.
This illusion appeared very bright and warm.
As Lu Chu watched the lanterns he didn’t move far. He was waiting for his teammates.
Soon, Lu Qi exited and nodded her head in acknowledgment at Lu Chu when she saw him at the entrance to the illusion. She joined him and stood there with her arms crossed waiting for the rest.
Following a few people that Lu Chu hadn’t met before, Song Gui, Yuan Kejie, and Qian Zhen appeared one after another.
When Song Gui saw them, he raised his hand up and smiled, “yo.”
Luo Qi sneered, “put away that face of yours.”
Song Gui smiled and shrugged.
Yuan Kejie couldn’t help but ask, “another game has ended. Another ten minutes added, but five minutes still needs to be deducted due to the illusion. In fact, a single-person game is only able to add five minutes. If it continues to be like this, when will I be able to reach twenty-four hours? You haven’t found a suitable multi-person mission yet?”
When it came to talking about crucial matters, Song Gui became serious once more, “I wanted to talk to you guys about this. I found a suitable multi-person mission, but it’s different from the usual ones that we have participated in before.”
Luo Qi raised an eyebrow, “what kind is it?”
Song Gui said, “group battle.”
Astonished, Yuan Kejie asked, “battle? With who?”
Song Gui explained, “you guys should already know that the ‘rules’ aren’t exactly unique.”
Lu Chu instantly got what he meant, “you mean, that we’ll fight with other people under different ‘rules’.”
“En,” Song Gui looked at the rest, “are you guys, scared of killing people?”
Qian Zhen shook his head.
Luo Qi gave a sneer, “what did you think I relied on to live till now?”
Lu Chu thought about that game, where 7 had gripped onto his hand, and inserted that knife through his own body.
Their hands eventually had to be stained with blood.
And the first person he killed. Was his lover.
Yuan Kejie was the only one who hesitated, “if possible, I don’t want to be the one holding us all back. However, my actual combat ability is really quite weak, and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to kill anyone.”
“That’s not a problem,” Song Gui said, “a good team can’t consist of only fighters.”
Lu Chu thought the same as what Song Gui said. In a complete team, each of the members must have their own expertise and role to play. Moreover,in order to win, they would need to cooperate with each other. He had to admit that if this were the real world, Song Gui would be a great leader.
“In this team battle, the points are given based on the number of survivors per team. I don’t exactly know the specific number of people who will be participating in this game. Thus, we’ll have to see how many people choose this game this time.” Song Gui continued to explain to everybody, “these types of ‘games’ are quite rare. From the information that I gathered from others who entered this ‘game’ earlier than I did, if the team qualifies in the end, then those within that team who died will also be brought back to life. This is part of the reason why I chose this game.”
He wished to reduce the risk, as he couldn’t afford to lose anyone in the team he’d finally managed to put together.
Luo Qi noted down the key points, then asked, “I’m very curious, where did you get all this information from?”
Song Gui said helplessly, “it’s just my wide social circle.”
Luo Qi questioned, “a social circle in this kind of game?”
Song Gui didn’t explain any further.
Luo Qi also didn’t persist in questioning him. In the end, she’d know whatever she needed to, sooner or later. Regardless of how much Song Gui knew, as long as he held no malice towards them, there would be no need to worry.
Luo Qi pulled a piece of grass from the nearby field and chewed on it, “since our business is finished, I’ll go now.” With that, she stuck her hands into her pockets and turned to leave.
Seeing this, Yuan Kejie said quickly, “I’ll go with Qiqi.”
After saying that, she jogged up to Luo Qi. Luo Qi seemed to be rather impatient, but didn’t object to Yuan Kejie following her.
The silent Qian Zhen also bade goodbye to the other two, and left for somewhere else.
Soon, only Lu Chu and Song Gui were left.
Song Gui saw that there wasn’t anyone else around, so he asked Lu Chu softly, “can you tell me, what you’ve experienced?”
Upon hearing this, Lu Chu knew that he was referring to what he experienced as an ‘insider’, “you’re quite interested in this.”
“Of course,” Song Gui nodded as if this was something to be expected. He chuckled, “I blame Lu Xiaochu for being so mysterious, and making me so interested.”
“Unfortunately, you still won’t get the chance to know this time,” Lu Chu raised his hand with the bracelet and smiled, “because I don’t have much time left.”
He wasn’t against telling Song Gui what he experienced. After all, Song Gui, who had already met another “Lu Chu”, knew his biggest secret. As long as he knew that Lu Chu was someone from ‘inside’ the game, then he would be able to guess most of the facts.
Lu Chu looked at his remaining ten minutes — he really didn’t have much time left.
Song Gui stopped pursuing the matter, but instead, looked at the lanterns in front of him and asked another important question, “would Qi Li be able to find us and complete this mission with us as a team?”
Qi Li was a powerful person and their chances of winning would increase with him.
Song Gui didn’t belong to the same ‘rules’ as Qi Li, so there wasn’t any way for them to communicate. Therefore, they wouldn’t know of his situation. However, inexplicably, Song Gui felt that Lu Chu knew about Qi Li’s information, and would be able to give him the correct answer.
Sure enough, Lu Chu replied directly, “yes.”
His tone was filled with certainty.
Hearing this, Song Gui turned his gaze to Lu Chu, and felt that he was a little different.
It was a subtle change.
From the start, Lu Chu was already a gentle person. He was modest and polite, an individual that made others feel positive about him at first glance.
However, the current brightness and softness around him didn’t come from his own gentleness. Such aura could only be seen on someone who was being loved, who was happy. The corners of their mouth would unconsciously curl up, and the air around them would become mellower.
Song Gui was a little puzzled. Then, he thought of the atmosphere between Lu Chu and Qi Li, and the attention and protectiveness Qi Li had towards Lu Chu, and the familiarity Lu Chu had with Qi Li…… He had a slight suspicion, but felt it was unrealistic and unbelievable. Yet, he couldn’t help but reconsider when he saw the smile on Lu Chu’s face.
So he asked tentatively, “both you and Qi Li……”
Hearing his words, Lu Chu looked up towards him, “en? What is it?”
“The atmosphere between you guys, is kinda weird, both of you……” Song Gui paused for a moment. Although he still didn’t believe what he had guessed, he still continued, “are…… together?”
Lu Chu was a little taken aback when he heard Song Gui’s question.
Song Gui studied his expression, and knew that his unrealistic thought was actually correct. He shooed away the strange feeling in his heart, and explained, “the feeling you give people is somewhat different from before.”
“Different?” Lu Chu questioned.
“It’s as if you knew that there would be someone to accompany you from now onwards, so you became firmer, and gentler.” Song Gui tried to describe the feeling that he got from him, and as he continued to speak, he felt some envy in his heart.
When Lu Chu heard him, a gentle smile immediately spread across his face, and he directly admitted, “yes, we’re together.”
It was until the point where he didn’t have any fear or uncertainty towards the future. It was only because they were such compatible people, that their relationship would be so natural.
Lu Chu said again, “however I’m really happy, you said that I’ve become firmer and gentler, it is because he brought it to me.”
Song Gui said in a serious tone, “Lu Xiaochu, from the start, you were able to bring a sense of trust and warmth to others.”
Lu Chu looked at him in slight astonishment when he heard his praise.
“That’s the reason you’re standing in front of me right now, isn’t it?” Song Gui smiled and asked once more. It was the first time that his eyes weren’t overcast with a heavy layer of pretense. He looked gently towards Lu Chu, “to love your own life, to be modest and gentle, to be clear about good and evil, to have no overwhelming sympathy, yet respect all living things from the bottom of your heart. You certainly must have brought a lot of light and gentleness to others, that you’ve never realised it yourself.”
Lu Chu was somewhat stunned upon hearing this, but the sides of his lips curled up, and his eyes filled with a gentle light as he responded, “if that’s the case, then it couldn’t be better.”
He truly did have some sort of stable confidence towards life. When he was at ease, although he couldn’t see, he could feel brightness and gentleness from the bottom of his heart. When he felt that life wasn’t easy, he would imagine the lush trees and the blooming flowers that he had never seen before. In addition, there would always be a chill that flowed across his heart, yet bright and gentle.
If such accidental feelings had given people strength before, then it couldn’t be better.