Mr. Melancholy Wants to Live a Peaceful Life - Chap 52
The thin needles seemed like rubber, but in reality they were a sort of memory metal he had never seen before. You Zhengping was lying through his teeth when he described them as rubber.
The two of them went through the narrow passage, each supporting the other, and entered a labyrinth. There was a line of green characters on the silver white metal of the labyrinth entrance: You have come through the many perils of the trap-laden passage to the labyrinth. The labyrinth is the second line of defense for the occupant of the tomb. There may be unknown living beings protecting it. If you want to pass through the labyrinth, you must give up your companion. Are you ready?
“The escape room is planned out pretty interestingly,” You Zhengping said, stroking his chin. “Unknown living beings…those must be the employees? I figure they’ll be dressed up in a very frightening way. I can’t let them scare me.”
You Zhengping said this upfront so that if some monster really did appear in the labyrinth, Yu Hua wouldn’t get suspicious.
The labyrinth was about a meter and a half wide, enough for two or three people to walk through shoulder to shoulder. This width, however, made You Zhengping more uneasy. He thought that the person behind the labyrinth was doing this to break the two of them up.
“They want to quietly separate us. It seems only one of us is the real target. Is it me, or Yu Hua?” You Zhengping said inwardly. “If it’s me, then my identity must have been exposed, but if they know that I’m a Protector, then their means of attack wouldn’t be so simple. All the traps we’ve encountered have been child’s play. It’s not very likely that I’m the target. Why would it be Yu Hua?”
You Zhengping held Yu Hua’s hand, looking at this kind and gentle man who made him feel so at peace. He saw Yu Hua take off his shirt and put it on You Zhengping. Under Yu Hua’s shirt, there was an undershirt!
Yu Hua said, “I felt that it was a little cold in the escape room. I’m wearing an undershirt, so I’ll give you my shirt.”
You Zhengping: “…”
He had no idea when Yu Hua had put on this sort of white undershirt that only middle-aged and elderly men wore. On such a hot day, wasn’t he afraid of a heat rash?
All right, Yu Hua liked to take care of his health. He would always keep his back muscles warm. After all, he was a man planning on exercising his back strength until he was a hundred years old.
Yu Hua’s clothes were a size larger than You Zhengping’s. The shirt hung loosely on him; there was a special sort of carelessness about it.
Feeling Yu Hua’s unique smell wrap around his whole body, You Zhengping felt warm inside. His emotions were unprecedentedly stable right now. He thought quickly of countermeasures and guessed why the enemy would want Yu Hua.
Since Yu Hua was an employee of Zhen Li’s studio, and the studio’s only ordinary person, if you wanted to get close to Zhen and Yuan, who were under the Protection Organization’s protection, the best way was to quietly replace Yu Hua. Compared to Destroyer 192’s fanfare, this new Destroyer’s secretive operations were much scarier. If he hadn’t happened to go on a date with Yu Hua today, then…
No! It was precisely because Yu Hua was a domestic person who only operated in the studio and at home each day, spending most of his time with Zhen, Yuan, and Lian, it wasn’t convenient for the new Destroyer to operate. That was why they had chosen the day of the date.
Though You Zhengping’s guess wasn’t entirely correct, he had still roughly guessed the enemy’s actions.
His thoughts were rather heavy, but he had to maintain a contented appearance on the surface, talk and laugh with Yu Hua, express admiration of the escape room’s dedication.
You Zhengping said, “When we get out, I’ll have to leave good reviews for this escape room on the forum. It’s really unimaginable.”
He knew that the Destroyer had to be using some means to monitor them and hoped to use their conversation to make the Destroyer give up the idea of taking action against Yu Hua. They were acting in the shadows and certainly didn’t want the Protectors to discover it. If You Zhengping posted a thread about it, it would be easily exposed. Hearing this conversation, the enemy would have to adopt a different policy.
You Zhengping waited patiently for a while, deliberately dawdling at the entrance of the labyrinth, but the other side took no action. Were they really not afraid of being discovered by the Protectors? Were they so sure of themselves?
The two of them, holding hands and walking shoulder to shoulder, went through the labyrinth took every right turn. They arrived back at the entrance.
“This is an interesting labyrinth. Let’s take all the left turns this time,” You Zhengping said.
The two of them took every left turn, and once again returned to the entrance. There was no way to get out, and they hadn’t encountered the so-called monsters.
Just then, the prompt text in front of the entrance changed: This is a labyrinth that two people can’t exit together. If you want to find the way, you must abandon your companion and go on alone. There are weapons and chains next to you. The one who wins can bind his companion with the chains.
After these words appeared, two daggers appeared at the entrance to the labyrinth, as well as iron chains that could bind a person’s four limbs to the wall.
Whether it was You Zhengping or Yu Hua who went into the labyrinth, the new Destroyer would have a chance to catch Yu Hua.
You Zhengping’s expressions was a little nervous. He was afraid that Yu Hua, who liked suspense dramas, would be interested in the secret room and propose chaining one of them. In Yu Hua’s eyes, this was probably just an ordinary escape room, and this supposed abandoning your companion was only a means of getting out. If Yu Hua took the enemy’s suggestion, how should he resist?
Unexpectedly, Yu Hua said, “Based on the the suspense novels and comics I’ve read, and the suspense dramas I’ve seen, it’s asking for death to abandon your companion at a time like this. There definitely won’t be a way to get out. This must be a test of our humanity. We mustn’t be taken in.”
Then he scratched You Zhengping’s palm and said with deep feeling, “Even if the business has deliberately planned so we can only get out by separating, I’ll still continue tagging along with Xiao You.”
As You Zhengping relaxed, he felt some sweetness in his heart. Yu Hua was a person who couldn’t even stand to abandon him while playing a game.
He still remembered when they were dating, the two of them and Cen Xiao had played Fight the Landlord. When Cen Xiao was being the landlord, Messrs. Melancholy teamed up to fighting Cen Xiao. When You Zhengping was being the landlord, Yu Hua did everything he could to trip up Cen Xiao and give cards to You Zhengping. What about You Zhengping and Cen Xiao teaming up to deal with the landlord Yu Hua? Sorry, that didn’t happen. Yu Hua never fought for the landlord position. He concentrated on waiting to give up cards to Xiao You. In the end, they had played until Cen Xiao had turned on them and thrown away his cards. Since then, Cen Xiao hadn’t played Fight the Landlord with the melancholy husbands again.
“Do you have a pen?” You Zhengping asked.
Yu Hua was a treasure chest. He got a pen and a tiny notebook out of the chest pocket of the shirt You Zhengping was wearing.
Based on his memory of the two attempts, You Zhengping drew out maps of the labyrinth. His spatial memory was excellent. Without error, he drew the two paths they had taken in their entirety, then combined them into one map. From the map, they could see that there was only 30% of the labyrinth’s map that they hadn’t walked through.
The Destroyer could change the labyrinth’s paths. They wouldn’t leave them a way out. But You Zhengping could force the Destroyer. Seeming careless, he looked at his watch and said, “It takes half an hour to go through this escape room, and you have to go through in groups. The next group of players can only go in when the previous one has come out. The first level alone took ten minutes. Do you think we’re going too slowly? Will the players behind us protest?”
Yu Hua quickly grasped You Zhengping’s meaning and cooperatively said, “They won’t only protest, they’ll probably also lodge customer complaints. People these days love denouncing others. Zhen Li’s livestream gets reported practically every day for all kinds of bizarre reasons, and the reporters post Weibo updates and video clips, make such a fuss that everyone knows about it. As soon as it gets big, hundreds of thousands of people get drummed up to come scold us. It’s impossible to change everyone’s views.”
Yu Hua’s words had a double meaning. He was hinting to Huan Zixu, You can’t play this escape room game as you like, the time limit is half an hour. If you can’t catch me in half an hour, you’ll have to let me go. The customers outside won’t wait for you. If they complain, you won’t be able to change everyone’s “impressions.”
Huan Zixu, watching the two of them, squeezed Feng Kui’s sturdy arm. Frowning, he said, “Can you mass control this world’s internet?”
Feng Kui shook his head and said, “Ordinary…hacking…yes, violating…world law…no.”
“World law?” Huan Zixu said doubtfully. “I haven’t heard that term in years.”
World law didn’t exist in worlds within the System. Only the System’s law was law. Only when carrying out world opening missions would world law be mentioned. Huan Zixu had heard survivors of unopened worlds exchanging information about it. He had learned that an unopened world had a mysterious power of law that resisted the System, and the System could only gradually control the unopened worlds by destroying the world law.
“So we can only operate within a small sphere. We can’t make excessively large changes to this world,” Huan Zixu said. “Fine, half an hour it is. We’ll bring out the big guns. Feng Kui, activate mechanical mode, go in and capture Yu Hua. After you’ve caught him, I’ll change You Zhengping’s ‘impression,’ make him think he and Yu Hua had an argument in the escape room, and Yu Hua left in a huff.”
“Copy.” Hearing Huan Zixu’s order, Feng Kui’s external skin opened, the metal bones wrapping up the skin, turning into a two centimeter thick steel skeleton.
Feng Kui controlled the escape room’s passages, going right into the labyrinth, quietly waiting for the melancholy husbands to arrive.
As he left the room, the headphones linking the two of them turned into wireless headphones, so Huan Zixu could give instructions from the other end.
Following the map You Zhengping had drawn, the melancholy husbands walked to the 30% of the area that they hadn’t gone to. They encountered a mechanical skeleton whose head nearly touched the ceiling.
Was this the Destroyer, or was it their item or ability? You Zhengping swallowed nervously. Squeezing Yu Hua’s hand, he said, “Wow! Is this an employee? How do they make that mechanical skeleton coat? It’s so realistic! Is it a real metal exterior? It must be very heavy to wear!”
Then he courageously went up to deliberately touch the mechanical skeleton’s body. Before he touched it, Feng Kui used a synthetic mechanical voice to say, “Humans, have you disturbed my slumber?
“I do not wish to harm humans. You may leave, but I have slept too many years. You must leave one of you to keep me company, and I will let the other leave the labyrinth.”
“No!” You Zhengping’s palm was full of sweat. Instinct was telling him that he had met a powerful Destroyer. “My husband and I won’t be parted even in old age. We have to do everything together. You can’t separate us!”
As he spoke, he hugged Yu Hua like an octopus, hanging off him with both arms and legs, the muscles of his back tensed, ready to hide Yu Hua in his second space any time.
Since the Destroyer had appeared, there would have to be a fierce battle. At that point, it would be pointless to stubbornly conceal his identity. You Zhengping had already thought of how to explain things to Yu Hua after the fierce battle, and he had decided that no matter what happened they wouldn’t get divorced. Even if Yu Hua picked up his things and left, he would turn into a scoundrel and follow Yu Hua and not let go!
Naturally Yu Hua recognized the Destroyer Feng Kui. He patted You Zhengping’s back comfortingly and said heavily said, “Me too, I absolutely won’t let you go.”
Yu Hua hoped that Xiao You would be able to unearth his identity through the clues, not that he would be forced to act under these circumstances. If he found out on his own, there would be time to reflect. Yu Hua had hidden a lot of evidence at home, and he had put some mementoes of their courtship near the evidence. If Xiao You found the evidence himself, then saw these mementoes symbolizing their love, perhaps he could think it through carefully. But if he directly revealed himself in battle, then Xiao You would definitely be angry.
Even if he had to use the black-cloaked man identity to force the Protection Organization to give him Xiao You in a marriage of alliance, they still wouldn’t divorce! A trace of fierceness flashed through Yu Hua’s eyes.
Seeing these two “puny” humans tightly hugging each other, the mechanical skeleton tilted its head, crouched down, and said in tis mechanical voice, “You won’t die. One of you will just stay with me.”
“No. If we stay, we stay together, and if we leave, we leave together. Not even death will separate us!” You Zhengping said firmly.
“Ignore them.” Huan Zixu had followed these two the whole way and had long ago eaten enough dog food that he wanted to throw up. “Separate them by brute force and catch Yu Hua. I’ll change You Zhengping’s ‘impression,’ you can relax and catch him!”
But Feng Kui, who had listened to Huan Zixu’s instructions all along, didn’t act. He raised his hands, suspended them 5 cm above the melancholy husbands’ heads, and didn’t continue lowering them.
You Zhengping and Yu Hua simultaneously clenched their fists. If the mechanical skeleton’s hands lowered another centimeter, they would act!
“Pick up Yu Hua and run, come on!” Huan Zixu ordered.
Feng Kui titled his mechanical head. Two red beams came from the skull’s deep eye sockets, scanning the melancholy husbands up and down. Like a physical exam, he could “see” their blood pressure, heart rates, speed of blood flow, hormonal secretions, and other indications, using them to determine whether the two of them were lying.
The hands suspended over their heads shifted. Under the melancholy husbands’ somewhat dubious gazes, Feng Kui put his hands on his metal knees and sat down cross-legged. In his own voice, he asked You Zhengping, “If…Yu Hua…was going…to die, and…you could…save him…by…changing…your bones…to metal, but then…you wouldn’t…be human, would…you…save him?”
“Yes!” You Zhengping didn’t hesitate. He answered resolutely. He looked at the metal skeleton without understanding, not knowing what the Destroyer was planning.
You Zhengping’s excellent sixth sense made him feel a taste of yearning coming from the metal skeleton.
“Feng Kui?” Huan Zixu asked over the headphones.
“Do you…want to…argue with him?” Feng Kui said, pointing at Yu Hua.
“That’s impossible.” Yu Hua smiled kindly. “How could we argue?”
When they had just gotten married, their living habits had been different, they had in fact fought, but Yu Hua was comparatively mature. He hadn’t gotten into big arguments with You Zhengping. He had only quietly lowered his head and cleaned the room.
You Zhengping, while flaring up fit overturn the heavens, had seen Yu Hua silently rinsing clothes with his hands and had felt extremely bad. He had hugged Yu Hua from behind and quietly said, “Let’s not argue, all right?”
“We weren’t arguing.” Yu Hua wiped his hands on his apron, turned, and used his cold hand to stroke You Zhengping’s forehead. “We’re only getting accustomed to each others’ lifestyles.”
Just that bit of friction had dealt You Zhengping a serous injury. Seeing Yu Hua’s back as he rinsed the clothes, he had felt sad enough to nearly cry. He couldn’t stand to have a real argument with Yu Hua.
“I’ll never argue with him.” You Zhengping leaned his head on Yu Hua’s shoulder. “If we argued, I wouldn’t forgive myself.”
Feng Kui paused as though computing. He took out the earbud, not listening to Huan Zixu. He pointed to You Zhengping with his mechanical finger, then pointed to Yu Hua, drawing a pink heart between them. The transparent pink heart burst like a special effect on a computer. The fragments turned into countless tiny pink hearts that enveloped the two people hugging each other tightly.
“You have…passed…the test, be…happy,” Feng Kui said.
He clapped heavily, and the exit to the labyrinth appeared behind him.
Feng Kui pointed to the exit. His mechanical jaws opened, and a crackling laughter came out.
“The exit?” You Zhengping was totally disbelieving. What was this? What about the fierce battle? What about the treacherous and crafty Destroyer?
“The exit.” As Feng Kui laughed, his mechanical jaw fell off. He reached out to scoop it up. His finger turned into a cross bolt screwdriver, tightening the loosened screw on the jaw.
As though dreaming, You Zhengping pushed open the labyrinth’s exit with Yu Hua. He found that he had returned to the entrance to the escape room. Here was the employee who had been here when they had gone in. She gave them a professional smile and said, “Your trip through the ancient tomb is over. Congratulations on your return to regular society.”
O-over? You Zhengping turned his head. The door to the ancient tomb was tightly shut. The thriller just now seemed to have been a dream.
Had a Destroyer wished him happiness? You Zhengping thought, uncomprehending. He jumped off of Yu Hua, and untied the rope around his waist.
What did this Destroyer want? Had it really been to test their feelings?
Huan Zixu also wanted to know what Feng Kui had been doing.
After the melancholy husbands left, Feng Kui restored the main composition of the escape room and considerately used his stored metal to reinforce its main walls so that the escape room wouldn’t collapse because of his alterations.
After taking care of everything, Feng Kui returned to Huan Zixu, changed in his human shape, and looked blankly at Huan Zixu.
Huan Zixu didn’t scold Feng Kui. He hadn’t seen Feng Kui put forth any viewpoint of his own apart from “eating” in a very long time. He asked, “Why did you let them go?”
Feng Kui looked at Huan Zixu, point to him, then pointed at himself. “We…argued…I don’t like…arguing.”
“You let them go because I said that I was going to give You Zhengping the ‘impression’ that they had argued, and you didn’t want me to do that?” Huan Zixu asked.
Feng Kui nodded. “A-Xu, we…aren’t…the System.”
“You don’t want me to abuse the abilities provided by the System. Using them for self-protection is all right, using them for harmless things is all right, but I can’t use them to give ordinary people ‘impressions’ that would do irreparable harm, is that right?” Huan Zixu asked.
“Right.” Feng Kui nodded heavily.
“Fine, we’ll find another way.” Huan Zixu took Feng Kui’s large hand. “When I kidnap Yu Hua, I’ll do my best to avoid You Zhengping, and do my best not to let the two of them be injured, all right?”
“All right.” Feng Kui gave a crackling smile.
Huan Zixu embraced Feng Kui and gently closed his eyes.
He had thought that Feng Kui had been gradually losing his humanity, but in reality, he had been deceived by power. He was the one who didn’t recognize himself. Because his internal storage was insufficient, Feng Kui had constantly deleted all kinds of memories, all for the sake of preserving his truest and purest humanity.
Conscience took up too much space. He could only keep it by forgetting some unnecessary things.
Yu Hua (blushing): We got pink hearts on our date today. It’s kind of romantic. These two Destroyers seem all right.
You Zhengping: How should I report this to the organization? The two Destroyers like seeing love that won’t be parted even in death?