It was late in the night. Su Bai walked downstream by himself. Because of his injury, he wasn’t moving very fast. After about three hours, his wounds were almost healed. But that also cost almost all of his energy. At last, he was too tired to keep going and had to sit on a rock by the river.
Usually, there would be a lot of insects by the river during night, but Su Bai was not attractive to them. Without the disturbance of bugs or mosquitos, it seemed extremely lonely.
Su Bai was never afraid of loneliness. He was quite used to it.
Ever since his parents died, he had to endure and get used to such feelings.
He held some water from the river and moved it to his dried lips. It tasted like dirt. He managed to swallow some, stretched himself and tried to stand up but failed due to fatigue.
The fight with Gyatso almost drained him up. But he didn’t regret. He had stopped trying to figure out whether he was influenced by his mental illness or nor. Actually, a long time ago, when they set up the Murder Club, he had come to realize that maybe the one killing people was his true self.
He took a deep breath and blew it out heavily.
Su Bai had no idea where the kid was after being brought away by the water, or whether he could find the kid at all.
Never mind, Su Bai quit searching. That kid had been swimming in a vat since the first day he was born, so he would be fine.
He closed his eyes and went to sleep.
At daybreak, dew was gathering in the air and everything looked misty. A fishing boat broke the quietness.
It was an isolated place with few population, only a few villages were scattered outside the county. Qing Dynasty was a time before Chinese population increased dramatically, and this place was not a major city or famous town in the ancient times.
Therefore, Su Bai had slept soundly for the whole night.
"Hey, young man, what happened to you?" An old man was standing at the head of the fishing boat. He had white hair and whiskers due to his age. Now he was holding his push pole and talking to Su Bai who was lying on the bank but was half soaked in the rising tide.
Su Bai opened his eyes. Such wakening was followed by an extreme hunger. But he stopped himself from grabbing that old man and sucking up his blood.
He waved his hand to show he was okay. Then he got up, checked all the direction and decided to walk back to the county.
In fact, Su Bai knew he couldn’t go any farther from here. Dreadful Radio wouldn’t allow him to get too far away from where the story was going on, of course it wouldn’t let him travel around the world looking for a kid. If he insisted on leaving, various accidents might fall on him as punishment. It was kind of an untold rule in the Dreadful Radio Game.
However, just then, from inside the fishing boat, there came a baby’s cry.
Su Bai quivered and stopped his steps. He turned around and stared at that fishing boat.
The old man hurried into the boat and carried a baby outside to soothe him.
"Oh, oh, be a good boy, okay? Oh, don’t cry."
At the first sight of the kid, Su Bai knew that this little guy was the fox’s baby. And the kid seemed to have sensed Su Bai. He was struggling to get out of the old man’s arms. When he turned around and saw Su Bai by the river, he stretched out his arms asking for a hug.
Su Bai tightened his lips and said nothing.
The old man fondly wrapped the baby up with cloth, "Stop moving, sweetheart, you might catch a cold. You poor thing."
"Mister, can you give me a ride, please?" Su Bai asked.
The old man looked at Su Bai’s broken clothes with obvious blood stains, but didn’t hesitate to nod. "Fine, get aboard."
Then, the old man held the kid with one hand and pulled over with his pushing pole in the other hand.
Su Bai jumped onto the boat. The little guy was so happy that he threw himself into Su Bai’s arms.
"Ha ha, he likes you." The old man saw this and smiled amiably.
Su Bai held this little child. He was rubbing against Su bai with his tiny forehead. That looked intimate. Even Su Bai himself wasn’t sure why this kid liked him so much.
Maybe the others were even more confused. They had no idea why Su Bai tried so hard to protect him since he wasn’t going to eat him.
Before the innocent heart of a new-born child was polluted, sometimes his instinct would be extremely sensitive.
"Where to, young man?"
Su Bai smiled, "Shouldn’t you be asking why this kid likes me so much? Or questioning about my clothes?"
The old man just nodded in silence, observed Su Bai for a second and said:
"There’s nothing to ask. I picked this kid up from the river, so you must be the one caring for him before that. He’s clever and he can remember your face, that’s a good thing." The old man avoided the important part, only replied to the trivial.
"So… you’re not giving him back to me?"
"Young man, I can see you’re doomed to be… Hem…" The old man seemed to have realized that he wasn’t saying something nice, so he changed another way, "If I may ask, are your parents still around?"
"I know what you mean."
Su Bai understood what the old man was implying— he was doomed to be alone, his parents’ death was the perfect proof, and he could not bring this kid out of this story world. If he kept the kid, after he finished his tasks and got transported away by Dreadful Radio, this kid would be left alone.
"Well." The old man stared at Su Bai, "So it is for the best that this kid stay with me. I will be good to him."
"How many years do you have?" Su Bai cursed jokingly.
The old man wasn’t mad, just counted with his fingers and answered, "I don’t know how many more years I’ve got, but I do know that I’m over 120 years old this year."
Su Bai was surprised to hear that. He thought this old man was just an amateur Taoist who knew a little face-reading or something, turned out he was indeed a master.
Sounded like a hidden superior Taoist.
Su Bai reached out and grabbed the old man’s neck. The old man didn’t move, just let him do that.
Su Bai didn’t clench his fist, just stared at the old man calmly.
"How can you prove your age?"
The old man shook his head, "I don’t know. Because most of my years, I lived a dog’s life."
Su Bai let go of him, "I can’t let you have the kid if you can’t prove yourself."
He might be kind since he didn’t eat the kid after finding him in the river, but there was also a chance that he hadn’t learnt anything about the background of this kid or the benefits of eating him. What if the kid was found by some other people who truly understood his value?
Even Su Bai himself didn’t understand why he cared so much about the kid’s safety in the future. He wouldn’t have anything to do with this story world after his tasks were fulfilled, not ever. In the previous story worlds, Su Bai just treated everyone as NPC, not human beings. He had never treated any of them with much personal emotions.
The old man thought for a moment and said:
"Actually there is one way to prove. Like, your remaining scent clearly belong to a zombie, but you’re also carrying other different scents, including human and something I’ve never seen."
Su Bai looked at the old man but didn’t say anything.
The old man put his hand onto Su Bai’s shoulder.
"Young man, you must be one of the evil? That’s a very powerful way of cultivation and it will easily drain up your life. It’s completely different from my idea."
"Cut the crap." Su Bai became impatient.
The old man took out a brocade box and handed it over to Su Bai, "I’ve got this Longevity Elixir here, I refined it by myself for reconciling spirit and energy. You can have it as a gift."
Su Bai opened the box and saw a pale blue pill. He was not concerned if the old man had poisoned it. After all, he was difficult to be poisoned due to his physical condition. Had you ever heard that a zombie was killed by poison?
He picked the pill up and put it into his mouth. It melted as soon as it touched his tongue, like a marshmallow. Su Bai felt a little surprised about that. Next, he suddenly felt a harmonious energy merging into his body. The vampire blood and zombie blood suddenly became quite and amiable like tender kittens. It was great help for maintaining his blood and shifting between two forms.
When Su Bai looked up to see the old man, he found himself standing by the river while the shipping boat was disappearing in distance. And there seemed to be a kid calling out for him from inside the boat.
Su Bai checked where he was standing. It was the exactly where he had slept. Did he never get onto that boat?
"Main Task One is fulfilled. Main Task Two will be issued now…"
Hearing the Dreadful Radio’s voice in his mind, Su Bai cracked a silent smile:
"Such a cliche! Sending an old man to bring me a pill as an award? Is this the so-called interesting story that you’re after? Such bullshit! It’s boring!"
However, Su Bai didn’t keep his smile for so long, because MT 2 was issued:
"Main Task Two: Bring the Baby Back to the Demon Nest!
"Task Period: 30 Days
"Awards: Issued After the Accomplishment.
"3000 Story Points will be taken out if the task fails. Anyone without enough story points will be eliminated immediately."
Standing by the river, looking into the direction where the fishing boat had disappeared…
… Su Bai felt like his mind was messed up.