nts…” Qingyue said.

“That many?” Ye Zhou said.
“Won’t he be rednamed?”

Seeing Dugu Zhuo give him a look of confusion, Ye Zhou remembered that his disciple hadn’t played the PC edition and explained, “Back in the PC version where characters’ names were displayed, people who had killed too many players would have their names turn red, so that’s called getting rednamed.
If someone with a red name dies, they lose more experience and items, and most players don’t like them either, so they’re liable to get attacked.”

“Player names aren’t displayed in Nine Heavens, though,” Dugu Zhuo said.

“So since this mechanic is new, Xiaoyao wanted to test what would happen if your Sin Points were extremely high,” Aotian said.
“After all, players don’t die when you steal their essence, just their health drops to critical, they become weakened, and they lose a portion of experience.
We suspect that later on, there might be different factions in the game based on Righteousness or Sin Points, or what race you are.”

“I had wanted to form a party with Xiaoyao, but now… I guess if we’re different races, we walk different paths,” Qingyue said.

Chatting as they walked, the group quickly came to the tofu stand.

“I just knew Widow Yang would be good-looking.
They say that beauties sell tofu!” Aotian said excitedly as he laid eyes on the woman.

“Stopped in your tracks because you saw a pretty woman?” Qingyue said, slapping Aotian hard on the back of the head.
He narrowly escaped being beaten by her whip.

The game developers had worked hard on Widow Yang’s character model, and within the group, only Dugu Zhuo’s looks were superior to hers.
Everyone else looked plain set alongside this NPC.

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Ye Zhou’s looks weren’t bad, but he was young and not at his full height, so he lost some of his allure.

Since the NPC’s looks were so good, there was naturally a crowd of players gathered around and buying tofu.

Fortunately, Widow Yang didn’t have any missions to give players experience and everyone had done their sightseeing yesterday, so there weren’t many people at the tofu stand today.
After standing in line for a few minutes, Dugu Zhuo’s group reached the front.

The few players that had been before them stood to one side eating their tofu while chatting.
“This tofu tastes pretty good.
It’d be even better if this game had fried chicken and Coke.
I bet lots of people on diets would come here to satisfy their cravings.”

As the party leader, Ye Zhou led the group in buying tofu, but after all the other players had bought their tofu without any trouble, Widow Yang burst into tears upon facing them and said, “You young heroes look like honest and good people, so will you please help this lowly woman? I will surely make the finest tofu as a reward for you, at no cost.”

The black cat said angrily, “Shouldn’t you offer your hand in marriage? What kind of a shameless NPC asks for help and then only gives a piece of tofu?”

Ye Zhou, however, had already foreseen that this task wouldn’t be resolved just by buying some tofu, so asked unruffled, “What’s the problem? Of course we’ll help you, as long as we can.”

“It’s my son.
He’s not well,” Widow Yang said, sobbing.
“He’s already been unconscious for three days, and he’s lost so much weight I can hardly recognize him.
I went to the healing booth at Tanye Temple, but the monk told me that it wasn’t an illness, and instead the work of an evil creature.”

“Look at the state your town is in,” Aotian said.
“I’d be surprised if there weren’t evil creatures.
We won’t have to wait until night to complete this task, will we? Please tell me no!”

Aotian’s concern didn’t come true, as Widow Yang continued, “The monk said that the curse could only be broken with the heart’s blood of a male child born at noon and filled with yang energy.
I don’t know where to find one, but I hear the fortune teller at the booth outside knows the birth dates and times of everyone in town.
Can you ask him for me?”

It was a chain of tasks.
Accepting the task to find the heart’s blood, Ye Zhou led the party to the fortune telling booth.

As they left the tofu stand, Dugu Zhuo noticed that several more players had gotten in line behind them.
A few of them looked odd, wearing bamboo hats that covered their faces completely, with their whole bodies clothed.
All that was visible of them was their eyes.

“Didn’t you say that you had a demon player friend, who told you that he appeared in a different place during the day?” Dugu Zhuo asked.

“Yeah,” Qingyue said.
“He’s called Wen Zhi Binbin, so we all call him Xiao Wen.
Yesterday, he told us that after creating his character, he appeared in a hellish-looking place.
The area was very small and there were ghosts and demons everywhere, which terrified him so much he thought he had transmigrated into a horror movie.”

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“He said he could take some tasks there, but the experience gain was very slow,” Aotian said.
“There was a huge gate blocking them, which only opened at night.”

Dugu Zhuo turned to Ye Zhou.
“Yesterday, didn’t you run into someone you thought was a player, but he was actually a ghost for an exorcism mission?”

“Yeah,” Ye Zhou said, nodding.
“That boss was so good at acting, I really thought he was a player.”

“Maybe he was a player,” Dugu Zhuo said.

“How could that be? He was clearly the mission boss,” Ye Zhou said.

“I’ve been thinking,” Dugu Zhuo said.
“In order to find the main storyline, we needed to move about when the ghosts and demons were active at night.
Then how will the ghosts and demons find the main storyline? Won’t they have to move about within the daytime world, where the humans belong?”

“They couldn’t leave that area, though,” Aotian said.

“You just said that they could accept tasks.
Couldn’t there be a possibility that one of them was the same task that Ye Zhou took, except, Ye Zhou’s mission was exorcising ghosts, while their mission was eliminating the exorcist harming their fellow ghosts?”

“That’s possible!” Ye Zhou cried, thinking back to that boss.
“He was too much like a player, that even after he revealed himself as a ghost, I still thought someone was controlling him.”

Looking at the couple of players lined up before the tofu stand, covered head to toe, Dugu Zhuo said, “Therefore, even during the day, there may be demons and ghosts within this town.”

thank you all for reading!

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the film that was localized as A Chinese Ghost Story.
the villain of it is a tree yao 

文质彬彬 cultured and refined 

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