There are 3 big characters written on the huge city gate plaque, Holy Lake City. Lou Fan curled his lips. The ghost lake village on the other side didn't even have a name, while this one here directly named itself Holy Lake City. Ain’t they despising the ghost lake village too much?
As soon as the group entered the city gate, several people left the 'village chief' group. They glanced in the direction where ‘he’ is going but didn't know where he is heading. The ‘village chief’ simply turned the corner and disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Lou Fan turned his head back, only to find that there are fewer people on the team. Qin Tan found out too and asked Gao Yi, "What about the other two? Why are they gone?"
Gao Yi looked helpless and sighed, "I don't know either. I suddenly felt wrong and they already disappeared. At that time, I couldn't possibly say it out and I couldn't see them anywhere, so I could only continue to follow the group."
How can someone even get lost even if they hold on to the corner of your shirt? Lou Fan looked at Gao Yi in disbelief but didn't say anything. However, Chen Shuyang is different. Practicing the principal of ‘Ask if don’t understand’, he asked, "Can they get lost even by holding the corner of your shirt? Did they get into trouble?"
Gao Yi: "Probably... maybe."
Chen Shuyang blinked. He had a feeling that Gao Yi is somewhat a little insincere.
Qin Tan stopped the meaningless guesses and began to assign tasks, "Let's split into groups first and take a look at the situation in the city. Pay attention if there is anything special, or a place where you can inquire for news and information. We shall meet here in an hour."
There are 5 people in total, and it’s not good to leave Gao Yi alone. Lou Fan glanced at Nie Feng and took the initiative to say that he will go with Qin Tan and Gao Yi, while Nie Feng will take Chen Shuyang. Strength-wise, Nie Feng is not weak. He has a clear mind and is a strong person. On the other hand, Lou Fan didn't want Gao Yi to follow them, and wanted to have private time with Qin Tan, but who ask Gao Yi's 2 unlucky teammates to get lost? And while holding onto his clothes? It’s really making him speechless.
The awaited couple time is gone, and Qin Tan's face turned dark like the bottom of a pot. Seeing that, Lou Fan almost laughed out loud. This person (QT) looked more depressed than him, and it is making Gao Yi confused.
Holy Lake City looked big, but the population is not too large. Most of them are concentrated in the most prosperous streets at the gate of the city. The further back they go, the lesser people they can see. There is a very majestic and antique house in the center of the city. But further back, although there are houses, most of them are vacant.
The group of 3 wandered around the city and walked to the lower half of the city, where there are fewer people. There are so few pedestrians on the road that no one could be seen at the moment. It is not easy to find the key NPC to start with so Lou Fan is not in a hurry. He simply searched slowly and searched every place.
Gao Yi also knew the importance of key NPCs, but although he is a patient person, he couldn’t help feeling a little anxious at this moment.
Then, a burst of crying sounded from a distance. It’s a miserable cry, with the slightest wailing.
"My poor granddaughter! How could you be taken away by those bad people!"
Following the voice, Lou Fan walked over and saw an old person lying prostrate on the ground. She is tearful, constantly slapping the ground, and looking very miserable.
"My poor Ah Feng!"
Lou Fan's eyes lit up. He winked at Qin Tan and walked over immediately. He bent down and lowered his head then asked in a low voice, "Old woman, what's wrong with you? Why are you lying on the ground? Let me help you up."
The old woman ignored Lou Fan, still lying on the ground and crying. Lou Fan is patient, so he squatted down and said slowly, "Old woman, the ground is very cold. You can tell me if you have any difficulties, and I can help you."
The old woman raised her head and glanced at Lou Fan. Her aging face is miserable and helpless, and she lowered her head to continue crying.
A smile appeared on Lou Fan's mouth. He thought to himself, this old woman must be a key NPC, so he continued to persuade her.
But Gao Yi, who is standing behind Qin Tan, is a little impatient. He couldn't see Lou Fan's expression, but based on his past experience and the information he had collected in the intermediate-level club, the key NPCs are generally like this: Once the passenger finds the right one, they just have to talk to the NPC to get the clues they need, instead of talking over and over again like now and the other party ignores it.
From this belief, this old woman is not a key NPC at all.
"It's a waste of time to go on like this." Gao Yi said, "Team leader Qin, how about you wait here and I'll go around to see if there are any other clues."
How could Qin Tan not know that Gao Yi is impatient? So he nodded and agreed that Gao Yi would come back in half an hour.
Lou Fan spoke very patiently for 10 minutes. 10 minutes later, the old woman straightened up. Half-sitting on the ground, she watched Lou Fan while slowly wiping the tears from the corners of her eyes, "Young man, my poor granddaughter has been taken away by the bad guys. You said that you want to help me?"
Lou Fan became happy in his heart and nodded immediately, "Yes, if you have any difficulties, I can help you."
The old woman supported herself with the stool on one side and struggled to stand up. Lou Fan immediately got up and gave her a hand, allowing her to lean at him to stand up. The old woman stood up properly and straightened her clothes. There are no more tears left on her face. Although she had no expression, she looked kind.
By now, the sky is completely dark, but Holy Lake City is brightly lit, and there are lights everywhere.
"Ah Feng is taken away. If you really want to help me, come and help me feed the rabbits early tomorrow morning."
Feed the rabbit? Lou Fan blinked. This quest is sure special, but you can't talk about conditions with NPCs. He nodded, "Okay, I'll come early tomorrow morning."
After speaking, the old woman yawned and turned to enter the door, regardless of whether they are still standing at the door.
When Gao Yi came back, Qin Tan and Lou Fan are sitting on the stone steps at one side, waiting, and he didn't see the old woman from before. Gao Yi didn't ask, and the two didn't elaborate, so they headed to the agreed place to meet Nie Feng and Chen Shuyang.
Chen Shuyang and Nie Feng are already waiting there and saw them. Nie Feng showed no expression and said to Qin Tan, "Team leader, we didn't find anything."
Qin Tan responded and said, "Let’s find a place to rest first."
They haven't rested since they entered the forest (to search for Gao Yi and clues). Then they planned to rest at night after they returned. But the full moon came early, and they ended up following the ‘village chief’ to Holy Lake City. It's late at night now so everyone is very tired.
Lou Fan thought for a while and asked, "Have you guys seen any inn or place that provides accommodation just now? Maybe there will be clues there."
Gao Yi shook his head, and Chen Shuyang also shook his head. Nie Feng's sleepy eyes drooped. And after a while, he said, "I seem to have seen one, but I'm not sure. That word is really small."
Qin Tan didn't hesitate and said, "Let's go over and take a look."
Nie Feng led the way. Chen Shuyang followed behind, tilted his head, and asked, "When did you see that, Nie Feng? Why didn't I see it? And you didn't tell me about it."
"Because you're silly." Nie Feng said lightly, "I'm here with you, still need to tell you? You should just follow me."
There's nothing wrong with this statement at all. Chen Shuyang thought about it for a second, and felt that what Nie Feng said is very reasonable, "That's right, I'll just follow you. I'm really a bit stupid, sigh, when can I become smarter?"
Nie Feng raised his hand and rubbed Chen Shuyang’s hair, "You are okay, not silly."
Chen Shuyang glared at Nie Feng, so is he silly or not?
The place Nie Feng said is located in a small alley on the other side. There is a canvas hanging on it with a word written: Inn. The name is very short and concise.
A group of people walked over and saw wilting flowerpots haphazardly placed around the entrance of the inn. A layer of mud and ash has gathered on the bluestone bricks at the door. The wooden door is half closed.
Nie Feng stepped forward and pushed open the wooden door, making a creaking sound, "Anyone here? Seeking accommodation."
No one answered.
"Anyone here?" Chen Shuyang stuck his head in and called out after Nie Feng.
"Who is it?" A woman came out of the room wiping her hands. She didn't seem to expect someone to come for accommodation. She got stunned for a while before she responded and said, "Do you want accommodation? Aiya, come in quickly, take a seat first."
Saying that, the woman hurriedly opened the door and dragged a few long benches over. Then she stretched her neck and shouted inside, "Old man, there are guests coming to stay. Quickly boil water to make tea."
A middle-aged man inside leaned out to take a look and immediately responded. With a smile, he went to boil water.
"I'm really sorry. Very few people here would come to stay at the inn so we are not well prepared. Guests, please wait a moment." The woman kept rubbing her hands, her face full of guilt.
Lou Fan said with a smile, "It's okay, we're not in a hurry. Take your time."
"Eh eh, alright, then I'll tidy up the guest room first. Please wait a moment, I'll make tea for you in a while. Just wait a minute!"
Lou Fan nodded and smiled. He said, "Okay, you can go to work first."
When the woman left, Lou Fan sighed, "It seems that usually, no one comes to stay here."
Qin Tan unloaded his bag and instantly felt relaxed. He replied, "The Holy Lake City and Ghost Village are relatively closed. Both the villagers are self-sufficient, so very few outsiders will come."
Lou Fan nodded thoughtfully, then why is there such a place for outsiders to stay?
Tong Fei came out of the lake and wiped the water off her face. At this moment, the moon is in the middle of the sky. The huge full moon hung in the sky, illuminating the whole village clearly. She didn't even look at the human skins on the shore and went straight to the shore.
Immediately after, 4 heads appeared from the lake, and they landed on the shore one after another. A group of dripping people walked towards the house, and the sky gradually turned brighter. 10 minutes after they landed, many black figures appeared from the lake.
"Sister Tong Fei?" Wen Lang came out immediately when he heard the sound, and is very surprised to see Tong Fei.
Tong Fei smiled, "I know you guys are waiting for us, so I came back."
Wen Lang didn't care that Tong Fei is dripping wet and jumped up. He gave her a hug and said, "It's great that you are all right."
Tong Fei pushed Wen Lang away and joked, "Kiddo, don't take advantage of me."
Wen Lang didn't know whether to laugh or cry. When he let go of her and looked back, he saw Chen Man and Fan Dayong. Then, Wen Lang had a weird look on his face.
"Why did you guys come back? Didn't you follow along with the group?" Wen Lang wondered. Why did these 2 come back not long after leaving? Also, they came back with the girls.
Jiang Dong is more understanding and asked, "Did something happen? Did you get hurt?"
Hearing that, Chen Man's expression is a little unnatural. It seems that he needs to repeat the explanation of his stupid action, and he really didn't know how to say it.
Fan Dayong answered first, "We accidentally got separated from team leader and the others. Team leader and the others should have already arrived at the holy lake. Then we met Tong Fei and the others, so we can only follow them back."
Wen Lang felt a bit suspicious. This Chen Man dude must have a secret, but he didn't ask too many questions. He doesn’t really care much about the two of them, as long as Brother Qin and the others are okay.
Jiang Dong also turned his head and looked at the girls up and down. They are wet all over, but he is relieved to see that none of them are injured.
After Tong Fei and the others rested for a while, they talked about the underwater cave. Hearing that, Wen Lang and Jiang Dong looked at each other with thoughtful expressions.
Feng Zhi glanced at the 2 and rarely opened her mouth to say, "I think there should be clues in the cave below, so we should go down again."
Raw word count: 3191
 That sounded really egoistic in English but it doesn’t sound like that in Chinese (at least for me). Here’s the raw for those who wanted to know - “有我在，告诉你做什么，你跟着就行了。”