The group of four walked to the entrance of the village and saw an old woman. She is sitting on the bamboo stool in front of the house and sewing the sole of her shoes with a kind smile on her face.
He Yong stepped forward and smiled, "Old lady, do you know where Yu Erniang lives?"
As if she hadn't heard him, the old woman continued her needlework.
"Old woman." Still not getting an answer, He Yong became a little impatient and muttered, "Why is she ignoring us?"
He Yong is about to touch her when Qin Tan grabbed him.
"What are you doing..."
"Don't touch her, something is wrong."
Lou Fan looked around and suddenly realized that though they met so many people along the way, they didn't see anyone talking at all. He didn't notice earlier because they were talking to each other at the time. But now that he thinks about it, there aren’t sounds from insects or birds either.
"There is no sound." Lou Fan said, "No one speaks, and there is no other noise."
Everyone seemed to have thought of this. The girl named Zhang Ting turned pale, and asked with a crying voice, "She… she couldn't be already dead?" A shudder rushed from Zhang Ting’s heel to her head and her arms are covered with goosebumps.
He Yong: "Even if she’s dead, no need to be afraid. It’s not like she attacked you. What’s there to be afraid of. Let’s go to ask other people, there must be clues somewhere. There is no dead-end in the mission world, don't waste time."
He Yong’s calm tone gave Zhang Ting a lot of peace of mind. She looked at the other two people and found that they did not look scared, both of them were very calm.
Zhang Ting: ... What is this extraordinary team she’s in?
Then the four began to ask the villagers whenever they saw one, and they still found nothing until the evening. Fortunately, though none of the villagers spoke, the things in the village are edible, just that they don’t dare to eat indiscriminately. Several people dug up sweet potatoes and potatoes out of the ground and took them back to roast. Other teams came back one after another, everyone looked dejected and there was no clue. This is not good news. The mission’s countdown seems to be chasing them, making He Yong's face solemn.
"Continue searching tomorrow," He Yong gritted his teeth and said, "Ask everyone we see tomorrow again, and don’t miss anyone."
When everyone is silent, someone said, "I suggest splitting the area according to teams. With the map of the village, we can assign a team to be responsible for an area, according to today’s explored area. They will be responsible to ask back and forth in that area. With this, the efficiency is relatively high and we won’t miss anyone."
He Yong looked at Qin Tan, "It's not easy to distribute without a map."
Qin Tan took out a page of a notebook from his bag and handed it over, "I drew this."
On the paper is a simple map. Although the lines are simple, the content is clearly marked. There are major landmarks of the village, the big tree at the entrance of the east side of the village, the well at the entrance of the west, and a small square in the middle. The location of their current resting place is marked with a red dot. At first glance, He Yong can tell that the map is professionally drawn. He Yong took a deep look at Qin Tan and measured him quietly in his heart.
Qin Tan didn't dodge the gaze and let He Yong look at him until he started to allocate areas according to the map. Lou Fan approached him, gave him a thumbs-up, and Qin Tan smiled back.
At night, Lou Fan is still on night vigil with Qin Tan. Lou Fan woke up earlier than his shift because he only ate a roasted sweet potato for dinner, which is already digested a long time ago. He grabbed a few potatoes and buried them under the fire, and stared at the fire dreamily with his chin on his palm. Lou Fan still couldn't believe that he is in a parallel world. It’s just a night of sleep and he got drawn into this world. It's incredible that a leaflet has so much power. But looking at the people sleeping all over the place, he couldn't help but believe that it is real.
Before Lou Fan went to the capital to participate in the competition, he had a fight with his mother because she found out that her son liked men. For a traditional mother, this was a bolt from the blue. She couldn't believe that her son turned out to be a queer. Fortunately, Lou Fan's mother didn't let his father know about this, and both mother and son kept it secret. There happened to be a competition coming soon and Lou Fan's father valued this competition very much. So his father asked Lou Fan to participate on behalf of the archery hall. Lou Fan agreed right away, the timing is just right for his mother to calm down. Unexpectedly, something like this happened to him.
Lou Fan sighed slightly and someone patted him on the shoulder. He turned his head and saw Qin Tan who looked energetic.
"Why are you sighing?" Qin Tan sat down next to Lou Fan and poked the fire casually. "Homesick?"
"No." Lou Fan replied.
Lou Fan’s parents are both workaholics since his childhood. His mother was a businesswoman, and his father is focused on archery. The two had little affection and didn’t meet up much. Lou Fan is sensible and matured early. When he was 6 years old, he could cook his own eggs for breakfast and go to school by himself. It's a pity that even with such independence, he spends most of his time eating instant noodles or eating in small restaurants outside. He could burn the pot just by boiling eggs, and his fried eggs have never been not burnt. The fact that he is able to grow up smoothly, it’s all thanks to the restaurants nearby. From elementary school to high school graduation, his parents never attended a single parent meeting in the school. It is not until the teacher stated that the parents must come when he graduated from high school, and his mother realized that his son is going to college.
"I just feel that if I disappear suddenly, I feel a little sorry for my parents." There should be a closure at least.
Qin Tan thinks this person is very interesting. He is handsome, elegant and has a very good personality. He is like the kind of gentleman that teachers and girls like in school, but he is very calm. He doesn’t say unnecessary words, but he is surprisingly capable to discover the key points immediately.
"What's burning?" Qin Tan shrugged his nose.
Lou Fan exclaimed, "My potatoes." The potatoes buried under the fire are blackened and could not be eaten.
Lou Fan cursed secretly, rubbing his belly and shrank in his seat. He, the king of the dark cooking world, would probably starve to death here. This kind of death would make people laugh to death.
Qin Tan looked at a few scorched potatoes and chuckled. To be able to make burnt potatoes like this is also a special talent.
"What are you laughing at?!" Lou Fan suddenly turned furious. Cooking is his worst enemy.
Qin Tan: "I didn't laugh, you heard it wrong. Are you hungry? I will make it for you, potatoes or sweet potatoes?"
Lou Fan watched Qin Tan bury the potatoes under the fire. The procedure is the same, but he wanted to see the difference in the final result. He stood up and patted his pants. Then with his bow on his back, Lou Gan took a walk outside to check the surrounding. Everything looked normal, there is nothing suspicious.
"Where is this Yu Erniang?" Lou Fan muttered, leaning against the door frame.
Qin Tan dropped the stick in his hand and walked to Lou Fan. The moon in the night sky is round and bright. "Have you played RPG games before? We didn't find Yu Erniang because we didn't find the trigger point. If we didn't get the clue, we couldn't be able to find her. Here is no different than an RPG game. The only thing is that if you die, you are really gone."
"I can't tell that you know a thing or two about games. By the way, what is your profession before this?"
Lou Fan is not someone who likes to ask about other people’s personal matters, but the person in front of him gave him a good feeling. Qin Tan is handsome, calm, and looked very reliable. Since they have to team up to complete the task and survive, the importance of teammates is self-evident.
How could Qin Tan not know Lou Fan’s idea? He is thinking about the same thing. "Ex-serviceman, I’m doing a small business by myself now."
Ex-serviceman? Lou Fan raised his eyebrows, but he didn't ask further about the answer. He arched his eyebrows with satisfaction and said, "I am an amateur level archer, and I run an archery hall with my father."
Qin Tan: Let’s team up when we returned to Lazuli."
Lou Fan: "It’s a deal."
Qin Tan laughed. He turned back to the fire and took out the potatoes underneath. The cool air is filled with the smell of food for a moment. Lou Fan fixedly looked at the moon.
"Come on and eat the potatoes." Qin Tan called out.
Lou Fan picked up the potatoes, peeled them, and bit them down. The soft and waxy sensation of potatoes filled his mouth. Lou Fan took 2 big bites and said it’s delicious. Suddenly, he paused, got up, and ran to the door to look at the moon again.
"Qin Tan." Lou Fan yelled and pointed his finger at the moon in the sky. "That moon is fake."
The moon is as round and big as how it was yesterday. Just that the strangest thing is right now is already early in the morning, but the moon is still hanging in the sky. Qin Tan only took a look before immediately turned around and called He Yong up.
He Yong looked at the moon in the sky a little worried. Originally, he thought it will be a simple task but not getting any progress after a day has passed is enough to make him anxious. And then, they have another problem with the full moon now. He Yong thought they won’t have to encounter any ghosts if they are lucky. Too bad that what’s coming will come. He gritted his teeth and walked back and forth twice. Finally, he waved and said, "I know. Tell me again if you found anything. We will go ahead as planned tomorrow morning. Each step counts. If we don’t find the key trigger point, this task cannot be done."
He Yong is an experienced person who had gone through 5 missions now, so both Lou Fan and Qin Tan chose to listen to him. No matter how experienced Qin Tan is in combat, his skill is useless right now. After all, he is also a rookie in this mission world and he can't play a big role in this strange world.
Thinking that the two are a little nervous, He Yong comforted, "Don't worry, it won't be too difficult since there are a lot of newcomers this time." He Yong didn't know whether he is comforting them or comforting himself.
In order to save time, early in the morning, each team immediately set off to their own responsible area according to the plan. Lou Fan’s team asked everyone in the area they are in charge of. They didn't even let the one-year-old kid who is playing with mud on the ground. Unfortunately, there is nothing new. The village is still silent like a silent movie. Fortunately, at 4.00 pm, a signal flare suddenly rose in the sky, and the bright color dispelled the gloom between everyone's eyebrows. Everyone quickly gathered in that direction.
When He Yong arrived, the crowd parted in the middle, and the person who found the clue stepped forward with joy.
"Brother Yong, this old man answered my question."
Happiness appeared on He Yong’s face and he immediately stepped forward. In front of him is an ordinary-looking old man; thin and hardworking. He is currently drying his things.
"Grandpa, do you know where Yu Erniang is?" He Yong asked.
"Let me think about it." The old man made a thinking action, and then looked at the sky, "It's getting dark soon, alas, my radish flowers are still not picked in the field, what to do?"
Raw word count: 3005
 I googled it but most searches came back talking about the radish itself. From what I read in the novel, the focus seems to be on the flower instead of the radish.