Chapter 14: My sister should be spoiled
Bai Qingqing had not expected the villagers would head to the old ancestral hall and find them so soon.
She thought it was a little strange, but those were ordinary humans and Fu Chen decided to stay put for the time being.
Because they knew he had abilities, the villagers did not approach him recklessly and threatened him with weapons.
“Follow us to the Sacred Tree or you will die here.”
As Bai Qingqing marveled at their confidence, Huzi came forward, apparently the leader, and said in a gruff voice: “You were all poisoned and only the Elder has the antidote.
If you don’t want to die, you will come with us.”
“Lead the way then.” Fu Chen agreed.
Bai Qingqing glanced at his face and realized this was why the Thunder Squad’s members had looked pale the other day.
They most likely had been drugged as soon as they had entered the village.
And except for Fu Chen, they indeed were; gifted people were many times stronger than ordinary people but they were not indestructible and both drugs or other gifted people could successfully kill them.
Fu Chen had wanted to find the source of the mutation in the first place, this timing was relatively convenient.
The villagers were bringing them to their tree of their own accord, just in time to kill the mutant plant.
The people who had just been freed from their cells were also detained and walked toward the Sacred Tree just as they were ordered.
Everybody gathered under a large tree.
Bai Qingqing squeezed into the crowd and finally saw what it was all about; the legendary Sacred Tree was a mutant plant.
It was a lush and beautiful wisteria tree, about four or five meters high.
It was full of flower buds and despite the absence of wind, the branches seemed to shake in excitement.
The Elder stood under the tree, and next to him was Sister Hong, her lips painted in red, looking both mournful yet frightening.
“You people.” The Elder glared and shouted in a resentful voice, “We Zhou village kindly offered you shelter yet you were unable to tell the good from the bad.
Then don’t blame us for being cruel!”
Men were pushed towards the wisteria tree and its branches suddenly wrapped around them, tightening around their throats.
The villagers regarded this mutant plant as a sacred tree and used humans to feed it; this was utterly terrifying.
Fu Chen quietly hid Bai Qingqing behind him and asked her in a whisper: “Do you have gas masks?”
“Yes.” Bai Qingqing remembered she had grabbed some in Jiang City.
Fu Chen took her hand and walked to the rest of his teammates.
He met Cheng Rui’s gaze and turned to look at the Elder, the man who represented Zhou village’s authority.
Hearing his words, the expressions of the villagers darkened.
Who did not care about their children? Had they had other ways, they would feel guilty and ashamed.
But what they said to their conscience was that they had hidden the children for their own safety.
The Elder’s face was cold, but perhaps because he thought the Sacred Tree gave him the upper hand, he sneered: “You are a stranger.
What right do you have to question our village’s affairs?”
Because he held the children of every household hostage, the men willingly sacrificed themselves to tortuously work in the village and the women were brainwashed into going out and looking for prey.
Whether or not the women came back alive all depended on God’s will and if they could bring back people to the village, they would be rewarded with the Sacred Tree’s exquisite syrup.
“Bring A-mei and Awang!” the Elder shouted.
Bai Qingqing’s expression stiffened, seeing the two lovers being forcibly brought to the center of the room, pushed down to kneel on the ground.
The Elder hit Awang’s back with a stick and cursed: “You ungrateful bastard, biting the hand that fed you.
The villager had raised you for so many years, what is the use of keeping you?”
His stick was not like an ordinary walking cane.
When he hit Awang’s back hard, skin broke at once and blood shot out, the wound terrible and sinister.
A-mei cried and struggled: “Elder! Stop hitting him! Stop hitting him! Please!”
The old man tortured Awang in public to frighten both A-mei and the rest of the villagers.
If anyone dared to resist, they would also end up like this; the villagers all watched this scene with indifference, as if so used to witnessing this kind of display they had been accustomed to it.
Bai Tiantian ignored Shen Mingxuan, who was trying to hold her back, and rushed out: “Elder! Stop hitting him, you will kill him!”
Seeing the girl, the Elder stopped waving his stick and said with impatience: “Awang betrayed the village and violated our rules.
This is the punishment he deserves.”
Bai Tiantian had a sympathetic look and replied: “Even if he made a big mistake, he should not be beaten to death.”
The woman pulled at Bai Tiantian and said: “Holy Maiden, come here.”
Bai Qingqing believed that the current scene should overlap with the original novel; Bai Tiantian had been asked to marry the mountain god.
Wasn’t this so-called deity the Sacred Tree? If it was indeed this mutant plant, it was really weird; no wonder Bai Tiantian had been unwilling.
The Elder was over 80 years old yet vigorous and lively, was he getting any benefits from his Sacred Tree? Otherwise, why would he go crazy over a tree.
“Holy Maiden, as long as you are willing to marry the Sacred Tree and stay in the village to protect us, your friends will be allowed to leave safely.”
Bai Tiantian heard his words and looked at him, baffled.
“Marry the Sacred Tree?”
The Elder nodded: “You and the Sacred Tree are fated and you both are the guardians of our Zhou village.
Your union would be ideal.”
Bai Tiantian’s mind shattered and she turned aggrieved eyes to the Thunder Squad: Save me.
Realizing she was not accepting, the Elder’s face darkened: “Is the Holy Maiden unwilling?”
“I…” Bai Tiantian bit her lips in frustration.
Of course, she was not willing to marry a stupid tree and stay in this stupid place!
At the same moment, a fire broke out in the new ancestral hall.
The building was the most important of the village and when the flame rose, the villagers panicked and yelled to extinguish the blaze.
Before the Elder could say anything to stop the chaos, another fireball flew towards the wisteria tree.
“Roar!” The Sacred Tree howled, shocking everyone.
The branches started crazily twisting in the air and knocked out most of the villagers.
“Qingqing!” Fu Chen shouted.
Bai Tiantian was the closest to the tree and branches were already wrapped around her: “Help! Save me!”
The Elder had not seen the attack coming and yelled: “Kill them! Kill them all!”
The change happened in a flash.
Some sort of pollen fluttered in the air, the villagers clasped their throats, their faces red and coughing violently, and blue veins appeared on their necks and faces.
The unprecedented horror scene scared people into fleeing and they fell to the ground one after another.
Fortunately, Shen Mingxuan had cut the wisteria branches fast enough to catch Bai Tiantian and safely put a mask on her, protecting her from all the flying particles.
The Elder suddenly turned into a monster; vine-like tentacles burst out of his body and his hideous appearance was similar to a distorted spider.
He lifted a forelimb that looked like a sickle and impaled a man.
Blood splattered everywhere.
“Aaaaaaaah!” Screams came and went.
One of the mutated villagers rushed to Sister Hong and gnawed on her neck, tearing at her skin with a wide mouth.
She tried to defend herself and kicked with her feet but the creature was too strong and she convulsed for a while before stopping moving altogether.
“Awang!” A-mei yelled in horror, “Watch out!”
Bai Qingqing looked over, took out a gun from her space and fiercely aimed at the monster’s head, killing him with one ‘bang’.
The sharp and accurate shot attracted the attention of her surroundings.
Another creature lunged towards her and she had no time to react; Fu Chen’s powerful arms wrapped around her waist and he took her away in a spin as his lighting power burned the monster to death.
Bai Qingqing shouted at Awang and A-mei who had not had time to escape yet: “Hurry up and find a place to hide! Don’t get caught or bitten, you’ll get infected!”
Mutant plants like this wisteria tree could only be dealt with by Cheng Rui’s fire ability and Fu Chen’s thunder.
Liang Zhiyu attacked alongside Cheng Rui’s but failed to kill it.
Bai Qingqing didn’t want to hold anyone back, the most important thing right now was to destroy the tree.
She pushed Fu Chen away: “Brother, you go help Cheng Rui, I can protect myself!”
The monster the Elder had turned into had already killed a lot of people and Shen Mingxuan was dogging its attacks as he carried Bai Tiantian.
The sacrificial room had become a bloody mess.
Bai Qingqing felt her earlier shot had been pure luck and decided she had more chance with a blade in close combat.
She took her Tang knife from her space and started slicing and stabbing monsters.
The mutant tree was most likely a Third-Order plant.
Cheng Rui and Fu Chen cooperated to kill the roots and finally pulled out its core.
For a survivor squad like them, the other infected villagers were easy to kill, and except for a few who had run away, they were all quickly cleaned up.
The grass of the sacrificial room was drenched in blood and corpses laid everywhere.
After slaying the spider monster, Shen Mingxuan took off his mask and threw it to the ground with disgust.
Bai Tiantian’s legs had been weak for a while and she relied on him to not fall down.
Fu Chen held the lavender crystal core of the tree, suddenly remembering the plant from the forest and wondering if they had missed its core.
Bai Qingqing cleaned up her Tang knife and put it back in her space before walking to Fu Chen.
She stared greedily at the core in his hand, if she could get it, her second ability would definitely improve!
Watching her fixated on the core, Fu Chen asked: “Do you want it?”
“No.” Bai Qingqing obviously lied.
This core was Fu Chen and Cheng Rui’s prize, even if she wanted it, she could not get it.
Fu Chen looked at Cheng Rui and Liang Zhiyu: “Can I give it to her? I can exchange another core with you.”
Cheng Rui said: “I don’t need it, give it to her.”
Liang Zhiyu had no objection either and he joked: “Captain, I see you like to spoil your sister.”
Fu Chen’s lips curled and he replied: “Of course, my sister should be spoiled.”
Bai Tiantian looked at them, talking and laughing, and she bit her lips; there was a sense of loss in her heart, all those eyes used to belong to her.
“Thank you.” Bai Qingqing received the crystal core happily.
After this incident, the population of the village had dropped by more than half.
The Elder was dead but all the locked children had returned to their family.
But as the first wave had just subsided, a second one started.
Awang fainted from a high fever and went into a coma.
Nobody knew whether he would become a zombie or not and the villagers decided to either kill him or drive him out of Zhou village.
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