Chapter 14: Trap
Xing Ye obviously couldn’t actually throw it away. The mirror clearly knew many things but either wouldn’t or couldn’t say it. Plus, Xing Ye currently really needed the mirror.
”Magic mirror, magic mirror, tell me, how can I stop the queen from continuing her evil?” Xing Ye asked.
This was the crux of the plot. Whether it was the system, narrator, or mirror, none of them would tell Xing Ye. It was hidden and the executor needed to find out for themselves.
By now, Xing Ye’s already mostly understood how the system worked.
It gave the following fate players all the rules and luck, with both an emperor’s superiority and restrictions. In contrast, the opposing fate players were disadvantaged, with the rules hidden in exchange for freedom.
Xing Ye had thought about the manipulators before. There were three of them and six conclusions; only one conclusion needed to be reached for them to win. They couldn’t control Claire or their own characters with the plot. Actually, all they had to do was make their conclusion something like, the imperial guard captain had a love hate relationship with the queen’s favored man and assassinated him. In that case, Claire couldn’t do anything but lose.
If it was Xing Ye, he would definitely do it like that. However, they didn’t. Is it because they didn’t think of it? Probably not, three heads are better than one. Maybe if it was just one person, but if all three of them together couldn’t think of it, then why bother living? They might as well just go reincarnate.
Most likely they thought of it, but couldn’t do it.
Xing Ye speculated that they could probably only choose their conclusions from the set choices the system gave, which didn’t allow suicide or killing each other.
It was different from Xing Ye, who although had no information, also had no rules. He was autonomous.
However, this didn’t mean Xing Ye could do whatever he wanted since he had three opponents.
For example, at the start, he didn’t want to pick up the mirror but his opponents changed the narration to force the mirror onto him. Xing Ye would never be able to act on his own wishes because the manipulators would always be trying to thwart him.
So to beat the first novice world, it was necessary to confront the three manipulators who would be spread out along the plot. After avoiding their conclusions and defeating each of them, he had to create his own, forth conclusion.
To win, all those points had to be met.
However, it’s not like the system didn’t give Xing Ye any benefits at all. Although things like making him the most beautiful woman in the world and giving him the mirror as a prop might appear like a burden for ordinary players, it was actually giving the opposing fate players an advantage. However, it wouldn’t directly tell the opposing fate players that. They needed to find out for themselves.
Under the system’s control, the possessed mirror answered Xing Ye’s question: “My girl, you’ve finally thought of this question. The queen’s current power is bought with the lives of many young girls. She disfigures them before trading with the demons; she’s already completely fallen into darkness. Her demonic powers can only be defeated with the world’s purest blood- that is, your blood, Claire.
If the queen still has a conscience, then you just need to spill a little of your blood on the mirror and let it reveal her true appearance for the queen’s kind heart to defeat the demon possessing her. However, her life is sustained by the demon’s power so once she’s defeated, she will die.
If she doesn’t even have a speck of her conscience remaining, then my girl, only all your blood and soul can purify her. You are even purer than the queen so you’re even more attractive to ghosts. Under your blood’s allure, they would abandon the queen and possess you instead. To defeat the demons, you must stay in control of your soul.”
Xing Ye: “...”
In other words, either the queen has a conscience and kills herself, or Claire needs to sacrifice herself to attract the demon before killing herself to put an end to the demons. After the demons are gone, the queen would still die of old age without its power sustaining her.
Adding on the ending about Claire not doing anything before being executed by the queen, there were currently three choices: one, Claire dies; two, the queen dies; three, they both die together.
Pick two out of three? Xing Ye rubbed his chin.
Obviously, the following fate players could have all chosen one of the possible endings but one of them ended up going to Earl Luca’s manor instead. This means that this was a pick two out of three choice that the system deliberately created for him. It only prepared one track to live for the opposing fate player and victory completely relied on whether or not the executor picked the right choice.
The recovered mirror wasn’t in the mood to quarrel with Xing Ye and just wrote nervously: what will you do?
After experiencing everything with Xing Ye, the mirror had long recognized himself to be on Xing Ye’s side and genuinely wished for him to win.
Moreover, winning under such difficult circumstances would be very inspiring.
If Xing Ye could win, he might also be able to...
”Shush.” Xing Ye set down the mirror before taking out a piece of paper and drawing something.
He drew a diagram that the mirror didn’t understand and stared at it for a while, a frown on his face before finally using a pen to dot the center of the diagram. He smiled coldly: “Trap, it’s all a trap.”
”The imperial guard captain’s actions made me sure that ‘the queen executes Claire’ is another conclusion. This means that the conclusions went from 'pick 2 out of 3' to 'pick 1 out of 2'. But the remaining two conclusions were actually the same thing; it didn't matter if the queen had a conscience or not because either way, the ending would be 'Claire exterminated the demon'. If I picked either of those two, I would lose no matter what.
"Fate would give a drowning person a last straw to clutch at but when they grab it, they would realize that there was no way the straw could support them. This was the malice I’ve always sensed throughout the game.”
The system’s malice wasn’t aimed at killing people. In fact, the game rules made it clear that the system never killed players. Instead, it just toys with their emotions.
Give them hope, then let that hope turn into despair.
Mirror: Then what will we do?
”We can just force out a fourth ending.” Xing Ye burned the paper he drew on and placated the mirror, “Don’t worry, we still need to deal with the third manipulator before we make the new conclusion.”
Mirror: He’s in the imperial palace while you’re Duke Garcia’s knight. After this, you two won’t have anything to do with each other.
”No, he’ll take the initiative to find me.” Xing Ye said confidently.
The mirror used himself as a lever to try and shift closer to Xing Ye’s legs, struggling to see his face.
Xing Ye picked up the mirror and explained: “When I killed the imperial guard captain in the imperial palace today, I had another aim apart from getting rid of the second manipulator and finding the third. I wanted to intimidate them.”
He would suddenly discover that I was stronger than they’d thought. Furthermore, as long as I hide in the duke’s manor until my life ends, there wouldn’t be an ending to the plot. I doubt ‘Claire never meets the queen again and dies of old age’ could be an ending they chose.
When the third manipulator thinks of that, he will definitely turn anxious. He can’t let something like that happen but he also can’t get me to come out of Duke Garcia’s manor. Thus, he can only take the initiative to attack and come out of the imperial palace to find me.”
I don’t know what the ending he made for himself was but there’s no way it could be ‘the queen’s favored man is tempted by Duke Garcia’s maid and ended up getting killed by the knights’, right?”
Wait a moment, who was the maid referring to?
Xing Ye pulled out a maid’s uniform from the pile of clothes: “I took this from the duke’s manor and it fits perfectly.”
Mirror: Why are you sure he’ll come find you? If he’s not anxious to finish the mission, are you just planning to waste time with him?”
Xing Ye spoke confidently, “Both his teammates already died and one was even killed right in his face with a cold weapon. Anybody in that situation would feel flustered, right? The aim of my intimidation earlier was to make him lose his cool. If he decides to bide his time, then I would really admire his mental fortitude.”
Mirror: But aren’t you anxious to return to your original world? You’d be willing to spend a lifetime here?
This was what the mirror was most curious about. It’s almost been twenty days since Xing Ye entered the game world, could it be that he wasn’t worried about what was happening in the real world? This was the novice world and according to system rules, only the winners of the novice world can return to the real world. If they lost, they would have to continue through more games and can only return to the real world once they’ve won. Then, they could go to the next stage of the game.
Why wasn’t Xing Ye worried?
Xing Ye’s expression darkened for a moment. He looked at the mirror for a long time before finally speaking: “I entered this world by scanning a friend’s QR code. That friend of mine… he was probably bothered by the QR code world for a while and had most likely been participating in these games for a very long time already. However, he had never gone missing for a period of time before so I believe that the flow of time in the two worlds are different. I don’t think I need to worry about missing time in the real world.”
The mirror fell silent.
Xing Ye’s words were right. The real world’s time wouldn’t change while you were in the game world.
However, the system wouldn’t tell this to players. Whether it was the opposing fate camp or the following fate camp, the players would only know when they beat the game. The longer it took, the more despair the players would feel. However, this didn’t threaten Xing Ye at all. He was too calm.
The mirror thought back to his own game experiences and felt he had really slacked off.
Mirror: Seriously, who are you and how can you think so far ahead?
He knew that there was no way ordinary people could do everything Xing Ye had done.
In the mirror’s opinion, the three from the following fate camp had already done well enough. If it was somebody else from the opposing fate camp, they would’ve long been tricked and defeated. It’s just a pity that they ran into Xing Ye instead.
”I…” Xing Ye pondered, “I probably started to get on guard when the system offered me two choices. Do you know what “being favored by fate” means in my eyes? It means that your life is no longer in your control, but rather, under an unknown entity's hand. I hate feeling powerless. Besides, nobody’s born powerful. I grew up facing all sorts of challenges so I’m just a little more vigilant than others.”
Xing Ye lowered his eyes, his mood not looking very good. The mirror realized he asked something he shouldn’t have asked and felt dejected, its surface dimming.
Seeing him like this, Xing Ye poked the mirror. A few words floated up on its surface: “Is your mood bad, are you annoyed?”
It was obviously just a mirror but its mood was even easier to understand than people who could speak.
Xing Ye thought for a moment and swallowed back down the words “I think you’re also a trap the system’s set for me.” If he said it, the mirror would probably be angered to death.