Chapter 64 - Werewolf or Wolfman?
Gu Fei drank liquor all by himself. The sight of Xiaoyu sleeping deeply closeby induced drowsiness in him. Eating and drinking in Parallel World was truly just a sensory experience; the players’ real bodies would not be affected by consuming anything in-game at all. Although sleeping in-game slightly eased the tiredness of a player’s body, sleeping in reality was the only way for a person to recover fully from fatigue. Therefore, sleeping in-game when players were feeling tired was ill-advised, as going offline and simply getting into a real bed would be much better.
Looking around, Gu Fei discovered that the Inn was empty. Yeguang Village not only was far from Yueye City but also lacked any ideal grinding maps nearby. These factors explained why hardly any players could be seen resting in the Inn. Gu Fei and Xiaoyu had made several rounds in the Inn and all they saw coming and going were NPCs and more NPCs.
Sleeping in the game was not a solution, but staying awake was not good either. Out of boredom, Gu Fei stood up and began practicing his bladework in a corner of the Inn. He got out his magic staff and practiced his techniques for it. He ended his practice session with a set of hand-to-hand combat moves upon seeing that the sky had finally brightened.
“Wake up! Wake up!” Gu Fei nudged Xiaoyu.
“Is it already morning?” Xiaoyu still looked somewhat sleepy.
“Yup,” Gu Fei answered.
“Lemme just lay down for five more minutes…” Xiaoyu collapsed back onto the table again.
“Quest,” Gu Fei reminded.
“Let’s go, let’s go! Time waits for no man!” Xiaoyu immediately perked up. She got up from the table and said to Gu Fei, “Look lively!”
The two left the Inn and headed to the hillside where they had ended their tailing last night. Since they had noted the coordinates before, the two managed to locate the shaft easily despite everywhere around them looking identical. Seeing that there was no one around, Gu Fei pushed off the large mound of vegetation that hid the shaft’s entrance.
The shaft’s pathway was not as large or as complex as Oolong Cave. In just a few steps, they found themselves in the deepest part of it in what looked like a big room. Gu Fei picked up the bits of loose rocks on the ground and touched the walls.
This medium-sized shaft was actually a gold mine. The gold ore that Mr. Adrian had given Xiaoyu and the sack of gold ore that they had found behind Murphy’s house seemed to have originated from this place…
This mine shaft and the sack of gold ore at Murphy’s place… Were they all related to Mr. Adrian?
Gu Fei had not forgotten that Xiaoyu’s gold ore quest involving Mr. Adrian was unrelated to his chain quest. Gu Fei and Xiaoyu being together, as well as Xiaoyu obtaining the quest that had led to Gu Fei’s discovery of Mr. Adrian’s secret gold mine, was purely coincidental. If all these serendipitous events had not occurred, Gu Fei would never have connected Mr. Adrian to the gold mine here.
“What’s this?” As Gu Fei was pondering about those events, Xiaoyu found an urn in a corner of the shaft.
By the time Gu Fei walked over, Xiaoyu had already unsealed the urn. She grabbed a handful of the grayish powder within and showed it up to Gu Fei.
Gu Fei narrowed his eyes, “These are bone ashes.”
“Bone ashes?” Xiaoyu felt shocked.
“The cremated remains of a person or animal,” Gu Fei said as he mentally prepared himself for Xiaoyu’s inevitable scream as she threw the urn away.
But Xiaoyu remained unaffected, merely asking, “Whose is it?”
“Only one person is dead in this village,” Gu Fei hinted.
“So this is Murphy’s?” Xiaoyu asked.
Gu Fei nodded his head, “Someone dug out Murphy’s corpse and burned it into ashes.”
“Why would anyone do that?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Maybe… Murphy is a Werewolf,” Gu Fei surmised.
“Ah? So Murphy did not get murdered; he actually committed suicide!” Xiaoyu concluded.
Gu Fei laughed as he shook his head, “Various questions could be answered if Murphy was truly a Werewolf. This would explain how he was able to trade blows with another Werewolf, and why the villagers do not know about his fighting capabilities. This would also explain why his buried remains were dug out to be cremated.”
“What does that mean?”
“According to western folklores, a lycanthrope corpse can transform into a zombie vampire. Someone must have cremated his remains to prevent that from happening,” Gu Fei explained.
“So who cremated him?” Xiaoyu asked.
“His kin. Only a lycanthrope kin would know of Murphy’s real identity and would worry about his corpse transforming,” Gu Fei answered.
“Could that kin be the same Werewolf that had killed Murphy?” Xiaoyu wondered.
“Perhaps. But finding his cremated remains here proves something,” Gu Fei stated.
“All those who come to this mine to extract gold ore are Werewolves. I suspect that the villagers that have been avoiding me are actually Werewolves,” Gu Fei deduced.
“Ha! See, I told you!” Xiaoyu said smugly.
Gu Fei showed her a forced smile, “You’re really smart.”
Xiaoyu felt overjoyed, “Told you I’m a quest expert!”
“So what’s our next move?” Xiaoyu asked.
“This bunch of Werewolves is living among humans and seems to have no intentions of hurting them. Their goal here seems to be this gold mine. This shaft isn’t large, so it can probably fit in four people at once when they’re mining. I assume that four of them come here to mine gold ore every night. Murphy must have harbored ill-intention that prompted him to secretly stash away some gold ore for himself. The others probably killed him upon discovering what he had been doing. I think that’s the gist of things,” Gu Fei explained.
“Werewolves are truly greedy creatures…” Xiaoyu commented.
“With so many Werewolves, I don’t think this quest wants me to kill all of them off. There must be another way to resolve this,” Gu Fei said as he pondered about it.
“Like what?” Xiaoyu queried.
“I’m not sure yet… We’ll decide our next step after identifying the Werewolf that assaulted us yesterday,” Gu Fei answered.
“You know who it is?”
Gu Fei laughed, “I managed to cut its right hand back then. Since my silver-coated Chinese broadsword has the additional trait of nullifying regeneration, that Werewolf’s wound won’t recover so soon. This must be a method that the system gave me to locate the Werewolf!”
“So anyone whose right hand bears an injury is the Werewolf?” Xiaoyu asked.
“Then, let’s go!”
After covering the shaft’s entrance, the duo headed back to the village.
The NPCs in the village were all at their designated positions. Gu Fei hesitated; he did not know how the NPCs would react if he suddenly grabbed their right hands one by one to check for a wound. After a moment of contemplation, Gu Fei decided to be sneaky about conducting his inspection instead. Fortunately, Parallel World’s NPCs had a habit of gesturing with their hands while talking. As Xiaoyu engaged these NPCs in a conversation, Gu Fei used that opportunity to observe their hands from the sidelines.
In the end, the villagers that had been avoiding Gu Fei, whom he suspected to be Werewolves, did not sport a single wound on their right hands.
“How can this be…” Gu Fei was dumbfounded.
“Did we miss anyone?” Xiaoyu asked.
Gu Fei had asked Chief Edwin for the total population of Yeguang Village. By his current estimation, they had not missed anyone. Each of these NPCs was out in broad daylight!
“Let’s go look over everyone, then!” Xiaoyu suggested.
“Looks like that’s the only way,” Gu Fei listlessly accepted Xiaoyu’s dumb recommendation.
The last bunch of villagers responded to Gu Fei. But after going through these NPCs, not one of them had a wounded hand.
“Why is that Werewolf so hard to find?” Xiaoyu asked in frustration.
“Now, only one person is left…” Gu Fei stated.
“Mr. Adrian,” Gu Fei replied. Everyone in the village was bustling about the place, except for Mr. Adrian who had not left his mansion by the church.
“Oh, yeah!” Xiaoyu nodded, “He has gold ore as well. Anyone who has that is a Werewolf!”
“That might not be the case. He’s the wealthiest man in the village. He might just have bought the gold ore from the Werewolves. Let’s go find him before we speak more of this.”
As soon as the two arrived at Mr. Adrian’s mansion, Xiaoyu, who had gotten used to them visiting people’s houses, immediately knocked on the door. However, no one answered.
Is that NPC not at home as well? Gu Fei felt annoyed.
“Maybe he’s in the cellar in the backyard,” Xiaoyu said.
When they arrived in the backyard, they saw that the cellar doors were locked tightly. Mr. Adrian could not possibly be inside.
Just as they were about to return to the front door, Gu Fei and Xiaoyu coincidentally saw Mr. Adrian returning home from being out. Gu Fei hurriedly called his name.
“Oh, Chosen Hero,” The wealthiest person in the village sure was different, treating Gu Fei with utmost respect unlike the other villagers.
“I heard you saw the Werewolf that killed Murphy,” Gu Fei began.
Mr. Adrian’s expression immediately showed fear, “That was truly a terrifying night.” Saying so, he started describing the spine-chilling appearance of the Werewolf.
“Was Murphy dead by then?” Gu Fei asked.
“Yes, that poor lad,” Mr. Adrian sighed.
“Did you see how the Werewolf killed him?” Gu Fei pressed on.
“No. He was already dead by the time I arrived. The Werewolf left very quickly, too,” Mr. Adrian answered.
Gu Fei thanked him, which Mr. Adrian very happily accepted. He stepped aside to let Gu Fei and Xiaoyu be on their way.
“His right hand doesn’t seem to be injured,” Xiaoyu said.
“No,” Gu Fei nodded. He was feeling downcast, having not expected this method to fail. Nevertheless, he had gleaned some new information after exchanging words with Mr. Adrian.
Murphy would have to transform into a Werewolf for him to fight with another Werewolf. Therefore, he should still be in his lycanthrope form when he died. Instead, Mr. Adrian and the villagers who hurried over saw a human corpse? No one could cause a Werewolf to change his form besides the Werewolf himself.
Meaning, Murphy had known that he could not defeat the other Werewolf, so he used his remaining strength to turn back into a human being instead. He would rather die than let the villagers find out his identity as a lycanthrope. What was the meaning of this? Was it out of kindness? Was he abandoning his inner darkness? Or was he a wolf with a man’s heart? Did that mean he was actually not a Werewolf but a Wolfman instead?
“THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING!” Gu Fei bellowed toward the sky. This chain quest had left him mentally exhausted. Just when Gu Fei thought he had made a breakthrough discovery, he realized that he was not on the right route at all.
He looked ahead and saw a lone NPC right before him. It was the same NPC that had sneakily mined gold ore last night. G*dd*mn*t! What’s the point of beating around the bush with a bunch of AIs created by the system? Questing is all about triggering the right condition through repeated attempts, right? At most, I will just die. What’s the big deal about that? With such a thought, Gu Fei stepped forward boldly and pointed at the guy in front of him, “Hey, you!”
The NPC immediately looked as if he wanted to flee.
“I saw you digging gold ore,” Gu Fei went straight to the point.
The NPC’s expression immediately changed and he suddenly turned around to escape.
“Stop!” Gu Fei hollered as he happily gave chase. See? Sometimes, it’s very easy to trigger the next event.