Most of those reptiles were snakes, and then several lizards. Under the dim candlelight, the bodies of the snakes wriggled and entangled together, looking very creepy.
Shi Xue Li and Ka’er, who were both veteran players, had already experienced something like this in some games they had faced before, so this scene didn’t really bother them that much. Shi Xue Li even took out a bag of realgar powder, looking very prepared for any situation.
She raised her hand and scattered the brownish-yellow powder into the air, the powder going down the snakes and causing a commotion.
She also told Xia Nuo, who looked a bit dazed, why she did that, “This is the importance of preparation.”
The title of the game often provided a lot of information to the players. Veteran players who had already accumulated a lot of experience would surely never forget to prepare before entering a game.
Shi Xue Li, who found that the title of the game was ‘Anaconda’, aside from exchanging points for money, also prepared some realgar powder and phoenix grass to drive out snakes and to treat snake venom.
However, it was probably veteran players who would have this kind of thinking. Rookie players would often suffer sometimes because of inexperience or would have to be reminded to realize this.
Xia Nuo dazedly nodded to show that he understood. However, the effect of the realgar powder was not that great, probably because these snakes were no mere snakes. Although they did disperse for a moment after the powder was sprinkled, with the sound of the drum they came back once again, gazing back at the group intently.
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“Sacrifices?” Ka’er asked.
“For the sacred tree?” Xia Nuo guessed.
Then was this sacrifice a part of Nasuru’s belief?
“Yeah,” the man nodded, affirming Xia Nuo’s guess. “If I’m not mistaken, the person standing outside the door right now is the last excommunicated priest.”
“Excommunicated?” Xia Nuo blinked.
There’s got to be a story behind this.
“She has been excommunicated because she angered the sacred tree. No person in Nasuru will be able to succeed her position as a priest anymore,” the man explained.
Xia Nuo wanted to listen more to the story now that he had heard of some tidbits. He had a hunch that it was an important clue.
The man saw his curiosity and stroked his head, “I’ll tell you more later when we have the time.”
His cold hand touched the top of his head and moved to the ends of the strands of his hair. Somehow, he felt the man’s hand touch his neck for a moment, though he wasn’t sure if it was just his illusion or not.
When the man took back his hand, Xia Nuo couldn’t help but touch the parts that were touched by the man. He could still kind of sense the odd feeling of his touch, and strangely, it even stayed there for a while.
Is there something wrong with my brain?
Xia Nuo had been filled with doubts since the last game. He would always have that feeling in his heart that he was forgetting someone. Someone that he had once been close with. However, no matter how much he tried to recall, he couldn’t remember anything.
When he came back to his senses, he found an old woman clad in a black robe standing in the distance. The person behind all these tricks had finally appeared in front of them.
Her face was mostly covered by the hood of her robe. Under the dim candlelight, her facial features remained indistinct. However, her hands holding the drums were wrinkled, revealing her old age.
Her voice sounded old and hoarse, “Are you the brave ones who came to solve the snake disaster?”
There was almost no emotion in her voice. Shi Xue Li looked at Ka’er before she answered, “So what if we are? So what if we’re not? Is Your Excellency making a big show to welcome us?
“If you want to know who we are, you should at least introduce yourself first,” she added, her brows raised, her voice anything but welcoming.
The old woman looked up, but she didn’t seem angry. She even answered her question, “I am here to help you. If you really are the brave ones, then I will tell you of a real solution to solve the snake disaster. If not, then I’ll simply take my leave now.
“As for my name, you can just call me Na Duo Sha.”
“You know how to solve the snake disaster? How can we trust you?” Shi Xue Li asked. “These snakes are controlled by you, right? Instead of saying that you know how to solve the snake disaster, I think it makes more sense to say that you’re the one responsible for it.”
Ka’er added, “If you know how to solve the disaster, then why didn’t you tell the villagers? Why are you telling us, the brave ones, the solution? Besides, how do we know that you’re telling us the truth?”
Xia Nuo: “…”
After he heard Shi Xue Li and Ka’er’s questions, he hesitated to voice out his opinions. In fact, from the moment that he first saw the old woman, he had already felt like something was wrong. She wore a black, ghastly robe and the way she looked exuded a very wicked aura. However, Xia Nuo felt like this person wasn’t as bad as she seemed.
Perhaps it was his intuition? Xia Nuo chose to believe her because of that. However, hearing Shi Xue Li and Ka’er’s question made him hesitate: Was he being too gullible?
Na Duo Sha didn’t get angry. She answered matter-of-factly, “I didn’t tell the villagers here because I have a grudge against them.”
Her eyes grew dim, as if remembering some memory from a long time ago, “I can’t even wait for all of those ungrateful imbeciles to die so why would I tell them? Well, if you don’t believe me then there’s nothing I can do about that.
“However, if you’re still interested, look for me at the banyan tree at the foot of the mountain tomorrow.”
Then she looked at the man, who had been silent all this time, since she came over.
—I will always be waiting for you. Her eyes seemed to say.
The man’s eyes grew dark and something quickly flashed in his eyes.
The drums sounded once more. The snakes responded to the beat and followed behind the woman.
Once she left, Shi Xue Li finally breathed a sigh of relief. She heard the young man voice out his concern, “Do you think she’s telling the truth?”
Ka’er answered, “The chances of her telling the truth are slim. If she really wanted to help us, why would she bring those snakes? Think about the sound of the drum too. If Kan Lan’er didn’t wake us up, we wouldn’t be awake now.”
“But didn’t she say that she has a grudge against the villagers? Maybe she did that so she wouldn’t be discovered. Maybe she brought the snakes to protect herself,” Xia Nuo stated seriously.
Unlike Ka’er who had always thought of the worst case scenario, Xia Nuo would always try to look for the good side of the people.
“We can listen to what her solution is before we make a move. There isn’t a specific deadline set for this mission anyway, so we can take our time. The foot of the mountain isn’t that far. It won’t take us much time to go there.
“And if we prepare well, even if we go up against her, we’d be able to fight back.”
Shi Xue Li stared at the eloquent young man, surprise etched in her eyes.
Since Xia Nuo had always given people the impression of being a little cute munchkin that always needs protection, she had never expected him to be someone who could think logically. What he said actually made sense.
Her stare bore right through Xia Nuo, making Xia Nuo conscious. He touched his face and asked, “Is there something on my face?”
Her brow furrowed, “What are you on about? I just think what you said made sense.”
She turned to Ka’er, “Let’s just do what Chang An said. Let’s make a trip to the foot of the mountain tomorrow.”
Ka’er could only nod and listen. The man who had been nothing but quiet since the old woman came over finally spoke. “Can you take me with you?”
The author has something to say:
Shi Xue Li: There’s really nothing special about Chang An except being cute.
Boss: As long as he’s cute, it’s enough.