"Master, however similar that man is with the sweetheart in your dream, you cannot let yourself get led astray!"
In the castle's master chamber, Hui rested his head on his hand with a heavy mind. On the table in front of him, a golden handbell shook left and right as it spoke.
"It must be that witch's trap! Even if you give your heart to him and the other way around, the curse will not be lifted."
"You need a maiden's love, Master. Only once both of you exchange marriage vows will we be freed," the handbell continued, "You only have a month left."
"I am aware of that without your reminder, Raimond," Hui opened his eyes, "But do you think I can easily let go of him?"
"Master, trust me. He will not come back. He might even expose you to the townspeople."
"As long as the day has not ended, I will trust him," Hui gazed out the window, "If he doesn't return…"
On the other side, Bai Xing has arrived back in the town. Fortunately, nothing has happened yet.
He put his hood on and went to the inn to return the horse. With the app's navigation, he went to Beauty's house through empty streets. Although M said the cloak could lower his presence, it was better to still be careful. He also didn't want to bump into Jean.
When he reached his destination, he hid behind a wall and carefully peered the house. Not long after, he saw a man walking towards the front door.
He could immediately guess from his cockiness that the man was Gaston. Without knocking, he stepped into Beauty's house.
Bai Xing could only see what was going on through the window. Gaston and Beauty were having a conversation, though it was mostly Gaston talking. He didn't know what they were talking about, but Gaston then happily gave Beauty his hunting rifle while still boasting about something.
Bai Xing's eyes shook as the gunshot traveled to his ears. Beauty shot Gaston dead. Another gunshot rang as she took out his companion.
He needed to find the power source fast.
But the virus has just started making it. He wouldn't be able to tell what was the power source before the virus finish.
He messaged M.
[M, the virus hasn't finished making its power source. What'll happen if I attack it now?]
Because of the urgent situation, M stayed alert for every message from Bai Xing. He replied shortly.
[M: I don't know. Nobody has ever tried it before, so I don't have any data on it. I think it'll be a 50:50 risk]
[M: It could end with the virus dead like when its power source got destroyed. It could also end worse with the virus coming out of its dead vessel and use its full power to get back at you]
Bai Xing peeked at the situation at Beauty's house. A couple of neighbors came to check what the gunshot was about. He flinched when another round of gunshots sounded and hurriedly typed.
[What if I destroy the potential power source? Will it be able to choose another item to replace it?]
[M: …In the past, someone tried to do so but got swayed by the virus. I can't tell for sure what the outcome will be, but considering the virus's serious attempt to stop them, it's definitely a disadvantageous event for it]
[Okay, then I'll try to do that for now]
Bai Xing looked up and saw there was now a girl coming to Beauty's house. Her expression was stricken with worry.
Bai Xing understood what the virus was doing. It intentionally let the townspeople hear the gunshots. One by one would come to her by themselves like sacrificial lambs offering themselves.
The girl knocked on the door, "Hello? Is anyone inside? Is everything alright? I heard gunshots just now!"
There wasn't any response from the inside. She tried pulling the door and it was unlocked. But just as she opened it, she saw Beauty standing not far from the door with a rifle pointing at her.
She hasn't registered it yet when her body got yanked aside so strongly that she and the person pulling her stumbled to the ground. At the same time, Beauty pulled the trigger.
"Eeekk!!" the girl yelped in shock.
She turned to the yellow cloaked stranger, "What–"
Bai Xing hurriedly got up and pulled the girl to stand, "We don't have any time. Run!!"
The girl saw Beauty coming out of her house with the rifle and scrambled to her feet. Bai Xing quickly ran away with her.
He could hear the virus's cackle.
Shivers ran down Bai Xing's spine, but he knew better than to look back. He and the girl ran amidst the people's panicked chattering.
"What is it?"
"That was the sound of gunshots, right? Are there some wild beasts attacking the town?"
"Don't know. Let's check it out. Bring your weapons."
One of them stopped Bai Xing, "Young lad, what happened?"
The girl answered, "It's Mr. Maurice's daughter!! She tried to shoot me!"
"Mr. Maurice's daughter? Belle? Are you mad??"
Bai Xing and the girl refuted at the same time. They and the older man were startled by another gunshot.
"You all need to run!"
Bai Xing warned them before pulling the girl to run again. He headed to Jean's inn and told the girl to hide there.
"Do you know Jean? This is his inn. You'll be safe here. You can run to the woods if you're experienced enough. If you know a nearby town, you can go there too."
The girl nodded, "Thank you very much for saving my life!"
"White? What happened?" Jean appeared with hares in his hand.
Bai Xing guessed he just got back from hunting and told him about the situation.
"Belle? Are you mad??" Jean also didn't believe it.
Jean's eyebrows raised in surprise. They then heard another shooting from afar. He frowned and put the hares down.
"I'll go see it." he stated before dashing away.
Bai Xing moved to follow him, but he paused and looked back, "You think you'll be okay by yourself?"
The girl nodded.
"Don't go outside and hide yourself!" Bai Xing reminded her before catching up with Jean.
Jean looked around, "Where did all the men go?"
"They went to check like you. Belle is luring them in." Bai Xing answered.
"Are you sure you didn't see it wrong?"
"She killed Gaston, his companion, and 3 of her neighbors. You still think I see it wrong?"
"Kh!" Jean gnashed his teeth, "What the hell is going on?"
"Whatever it is, we need to stop her."
Once they reached near Beauty's house, they stopped in shock with the dead bodies littered outside her door. All of them were shot perfectly on their head.
"!" Bai Xing shoved Jean into cover, "Look out!"
Jean sweated and readied his own gun, "Thanks, White. You saved my skin."
Bai Xing glanced at the gun and at Jean doubtfully, "You think you can do it?"
"This is a hunting tranquilizer. I'm just going to immobilize her."
I hope it works though…
Bai Xing held Jean back, "Wait, are you familiar with that girl?"
Jean nodded, "She's the daughter of Mr. Maurice. We usually call her Belle or Beauty."
"Do you know any item that could be important to her?"
"M-Maybe we can talk her out of it…? Or sober her up?" Bai Xing hesitantly said.
Jean hummed, "Make sense. But except for books, I can't really think of anything else."
"No…I don't think that's it."
Certainly, she liked books. But it was her hobby, not her treasure.
"If it's not an item, I would say her mother. But she passed away a long time ago."
"Do you know where she's buried?"
"Not here. Mr. Maurice and his daughter moved here from another town after Mrs. Maurice's death. That's what most of us know at–"
"I found you."
The two of them halted and looked up. Beauty stood above the roof of the house they were hiding behind. They hurriedly split when she shot her gun down.
"White, you go figure it out. And go get Mr. Maurice while you're at it," Jean shot towards Belle in return, but she got away, "I'll go catch her."
Jean promptly left.
Bai Xing put on his hood and tightened his cloak's fastener before heading to Belle's house.
Mr. Maurice…has most likely died though. Possibly the first one.
Once he entered, he did his best to turn a blind eye to the corpses there. He decisively went to Beauty's bedroom and turned everything upside down.
He couldn't find anything significant. Only books everywhere.
Did he screw up? Should he not use the match in the previous world? But even if he should burn a book, he didn't know which book was the most important.