But instead of rummaging through the pile, Xing Ye turned to look at Coco instead, “What will you do if somebody finds out the puppet’s fake, escapes from Benedict, and comes back to seek revenge?””
Coco waved her hand, “I’m just the little young master’s maid, how would I know?”
Xing Ye gave Cao Qian a meaningful glance and Cao Qian punched the area next to Coco’s head, creating a hole in the wall behind her.
“I’ll speak, I’ll speak!” Coco hastily said in fear, “The mine’s owner has it. He managed to stea the mine from Master because he has the little young master’s puppet.”
“Great,” Xing Ye nodded, “But I still think I’d better search this pile.”
Guan Ling: “...”
If you don’t believe her, why would you even ask?
However, he didn’t speak his words aloud. Guan Ling’s time with the group had taught him everything Xing Ye did had a reason behind it- not one action was superfluous. If Guan Ling thought it was useless, it was definitely because he was too stupid and didn’t understand.
The three searched through the dark room. Coco’s wooden eyes rolled around in a panic.
There were at least thirty puppets in the small, dark room. Each one was at least a decade old and looked very lifelike.
“These puppets should’ve been personally made by Master Benedict.” Xing Ye said, “Each and every one of these are lifelike enough to pass for the real thing. We won’t be able to find it unless we take them all.”
Cao Qian and Guan Ling were already growing dizzy. They couldn’t tell any difference between the puppets.
“No, all of the puppets are different.” The mirror suddenly spoke up, “Look at this one. His nose is sharper, whereas this one, there’s a tiny hole on his fingers. The hole smells like ink, probably the puppet’s built-in pen.”
Cao Qian and Guan Ling looked at the mirror. They were filled with curiosity towards the mirror, but didn’t dare to ask anything with Xing Ye protecting him.
Sometimes, Guan Ling still couldn’t help but sneak a glance at the mirror but Cao Qian never even looked at him once, afraid of making Xing Ye upset.
Now that the mirror spoke, they finally dared to look at the mirror directly.
Xing Ye knew how perceptive the mirror was. It wasn’t just Truth Eye’s ability.
There was no way he could use his abilities without points because of luck. According to Xing Ye’s understanding of the system, the reason he could use his starting abilities for free was because the mirror could see through disguises even without the system’s help.
The mirror made a circle around the dark room before standing in front of the most unremarkable puppet. He lifted it up, a slight smile in his voice as he spoke, “This is the little young master.”
“How did you find out?” Xing Ye asked.
“Look at this puppet’s expressions, then look at the other puppets. Can you see the difference?” The mirror asked.
Xing Ye, Cao Qian, and Guan Ling all shook their heads, unable to tell any difference.
The mirror sighed, “It’s smooth. The other puppets were also meticulously made, but they still have slight scratches here or there. For example, the puppet cleaning the floor outside had slightly coarse fingers from frequent housework.
“Only this puppet looks like its whole body was carefully carved and polished by somebody. It doesn’t have the slightest flaw. Somebody must’ve cared for it meticulously after it was made. All you need is a glance to feel the love poured into creating this puppet.”
Xing Ye looked it all over and couldn’t feel the love anywhere, but he believed in the mirror’s ability and confidently said to the other two, “ Yeah, this is it.”
This time, Coco was truly nervous. She blocked the door, “You guys can’t take it!”
“Don’t you want your young master to have a heart?” Xing Ye asked, “Didn’t you take such great pains to protect it because you liked it?”
Coco didn’t speak, but her attitude was very firm.
“Guan Ling, fix the part of the house Cao Qian broke.” Xing Ye suddenly said, “Hide that dark room so other people won’t discover it.”
The two following fate players should be able to escape from Benedict and will soon come back here. If they didn’t fix the wall in time, they’ll discover the room’s existence.
Guan Ling used A Shattered Mirror Put Together and placed his hand on the wall, reversing the wall to its original state.
“We need to talk.” Xing Ye left the little puppet in the mirror’s hands before sitting in front of Coco, “No matter how much a person likes to lie, their real temperament will inevitably show in times of crisis. I believe you care about the young master very much. Can you tell us about why we can’t let Master Benedict install his son’s heart in this puppet?”
Coco didn’t speak.
“If you don’t speak, I’ll immediately take the little young master to meet Benedict.” Xing Ye threatened.
“No!” Coco shouted sharply, “The little young master can’t leave Puppet City. Master Benedict wants to install his son’s heart in, but it has to be installed inside the city!”
Xing Ye narrowed his eyes. The little mirror found a cleaning rag and wiped the little puppet clean. It’s body was covered with dust, but there were no scratches or rust. It was clearly meticulously cared for by somebody, but made to look like it was abandoned.
Xing Ye had originally thought Coco was left behind by Benedict to protect the little puppet and the public chief was her accomplice, working together to hide the little puppet under the city lord’s eyes as they waited for Benedict to send somebody for the little puppet. However, this didn’t seem to be the case.
Xing Ye pondered, slowly understanding as he said to Coco, “Before Benedict left, he gave Old Nect a message, saying that his departure wasn’t because he was forced to flee, but because he himself wanted to leave. Since he wasn’t actually fleeing, why didn’t he take the little puppet? It looks like I was wrong earlier; the city lord never used the little puppet to threaten Benedict, the one who hid the little puppet was you!
“Benedict created you to look after the little puppet. He trusted you very much and ordered you to bring the little puppet to leave the city with him. Who would’ve thought that not only did you not leave the city, you’d even hide the little puppet here so even Benedict couldn’t find it.
Moreover, you and the person you plotted with, the public security chief, betrayed Benedict!”
“I didn’t want to either!” Now completely exposed, Coco shouted, flustered. “I didn’t betray Master! Loving the young master was the sole purpose for my creation. Master hoped I would love the little young master as much as a mother. Those are my natural instincts, my core nature that I can’t resist. Even though I know my existence is only a by-product of the young master, made only to serve him, I still love him! This feeling is integrated into my nucleus, I can’t refuse it.”
The mirror stared at Coco before saying to Xing Ye, “She’s speaking the truth. If she didn’t love him, the little puppet wouldn’t be this flexible after so many years.”
When Xing Ye had just entered this world, his body’s state was in shambles due to the former owner’s mismanagement. Even with the original owner caring for himself, his body still ended up in such a mess, yet this little puppet with no ability to take care of itself was still so nimble. Coco truly did love him. Without such feelings, she wouldn’t have done her duty so conscientiously.
“Since you love him, why are you preventing Benedict from installing the heart in him?” Xing Ye asked.
“Because I don’t want to die.” Coco said painfully, “The public security chief saw Master's diary. He wanted to take the little young master’s puppet out, then destroy Puppet City and create a new wonderland for the little young master. All of us would be destroyed.
“The public security chief, the city lord, and I all wanted to protect Puppet City. We all have human nature- we can feel sad, happy, and pained. When we’re happy, our nucleus feels cozy and snug. The thought of being destroyed is scary… we don’t want to die…”
Coco’s feelings were contradictory, but real.
Benedict could create an everlasting wonderland for his son and also destroy everything because he wasn’t satisfied.
But what about the puppets? If they didn’t have consciousness, it would be fine. Simple machines wouldn’t think death was frightening.
However, Benedict gave the puppets human nature. They knew the feeling of fear- how was it any different from killing humans?
Parents give birth to children, but could they strangle them to death just because they didn’t grow up as they wanted?
No, of course not.
So for self-defense, the few in Puppet City that knew the truth urged Claire to hide the real young master. When Benedict left Puppet City, he would discover the little wooden puppet was a fake.
By then, the city lord will have already sealed the city gates so Benedict wouldn’t be able to return and search for the little puppet.
If they followed the surface ending, after Benedict gets the true little puppet, disaster would’ve fallen on Puppet City.
“It seems the true ending is to kill Benedict and restore peace to the city.” Guan Ling said, “Good thing I’m following you, Boss, or I definitely would’ve gotten the wrong ending.”
“Not necessarily.” Xing Ye shook his head, “You must always keep this in mind: what is our mission?”
Cao Qian quickly answered the teacher’s question, “To find the truth speaking puppet and fulfill his wish. Who’s the only puppet that doesn’t lie?”
There was not one trustworthy puppet in Puppet City. They were all cheats who lied without blinking an eye!
“It’s him, right?” The mirror said, holding the little puppet. “This little puppet is the only one without a heart, the only one who hadn’t been given human nature yet.”
After saying that, he found the little puppet’s coil spring and started twisting it.
“It’s him?” Guan Ling said in disbelief, “Could a puppet without consciousness have a wish?”M
The mirror didn’t speak. After winding up his springs, he set the little wooden puppet on the ground.
The little puppet opened his eyes and blinked twice, scanning around the room with his eyes. When he saw Coco, he smiled happily and reached out to her, “Mommy, hug.”
A sob was in Coco’s voice as she looked at Xing Ye, “Let me hug him once, don’t steal him away from me. Master’s wife passed away soon after giving birth and during that time, Master was enthralled in his puppet research. I was the one who always looked after the little young master when he was small. When he was alive, he always secretly called me Mommy.”
Xing Ye nodded his head and Cao Qian released Coco. Coco knelt down, pulling the little puppet into her chest as she cried in both happiness and sorrow, “My little young master, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”
She loved the little young master and shared the same wish as Benedict, hoping the little young master could come back to live and spend his days happily in Puppet City. But at the same time. She didn’t want Puppet City to be destroyed.
Between the young master and Puppet City’s safety, Coco chose Puppet City. She had always felt remorseful and repentant to the little young master.
The little puppet heard Coco’s voice and reached out with his little wooden hands to touch Coco’s face, using an extremely mechanical voice to speak: “Mommy, don’t cry, don’t cry.”
“That’s it.” Xing Ye suddenly said.
“What?” Guan Ling was immersed in Coco and the little puppet’s emotions. He almost started crying too at the thought of his own divorced wife and child, although of course, he couldn’t cry because puppets didn’t have tears.
The mirror was gratified, “That’s the little puppet’s wish, the mission we have to complete: Mommy, don’t cry.”