nly— I…
Anyway, what ’s the plan? ”

Late Night Kitty reflexively grabbed hold of the hem of Bai Zhi ’s shirt.
His calm and confident air gave her no small comfort.

Bai Zhi shot her a quick glance before returning his attention to the kitchen.
”You play RPGs? ”

”Uh…
A little, I guess… ”

”Then imagine this is an RPG, and our characters are swaggering into someone else ’s house, opening boxes and checking every conceivable corner for anything of value—cash, food, valuables— ” Bai Zhi picked his way around the trash, making his way to a gas stove, on which rested a pot.
”—and don ’t forget to break, I mean check inside, the pots.
Then we take them all for ourselves while the foolish villagers hail us as blessed saviors of the land… ”

As he reached his destination, he aimed his flashlight directly at the pot.


The gas was off, but the pot was filled with an unrecognizable reddish-black substance.
It may have once been liquid, but it had dried into a cake now and the jelly-like layer that topped it like so much white frosting, upon closer inspection, turned out to be a writhing, oozing throng of maggots.

After contemplating it briefly, Bai Zhi turned to look at the girl who was still hanging on desperately to his shirt while looking nervously all around her.
”Want a bite? ”

”Wh-What? ” She whipped her head around in a panic.

”I asked if you want a bite.
These things are high in protein, ” said Bai Zhi, patiently repeating himself.
”By the way, you seem quite anxious. ”

”Protein… ”

The bewildered Late Night Kitty followed the line of her teammates finger and promptly gagged when she saw the pot.
Everything that she had seen since entering the kitchen was a biological assault that threatened to overload her senses.

She suddenly regretted her choice to team up with the Player known as [ Black&White ].

”How do you feel now? Not so scared, huh? ” Bai Zhi smirked as he watched Kitty, who was doubled over with a hand over her mouth.
”Fear is a natural reaction that everyone has under stress, but too much of it will hinder you from making much progress in this game.
If you wish to conquer your fear, simply replace it with another emotion. ”

A pale-looking Kitty straightened up and said weakly, ”…yeah, I ’m not scared anymore…
Instead, I have this overwhelming urge to beat the crap out of someone…
Next time, use a different approach, I beg you. ”

”As they say, ’the bitter pill of good advice, hard to swallow but exceeding wise ’. ” Bai Zhi shrugged.
”If you can ’t even get over the fear of everyday things, I ’m gonna be real—it won ’t be long before some quest or supernatural entity turns you into a stiff, bereft of life, a ’late ’ Night Kitty… ”


Having satisfied himself that the stove held no further clues, Bai Zhi strode to the refrigerator tucked away in the corner of the kitchen.
Three steps shy of the refrigerator door, his nostrils were assailed by a cloying stench.
And yet, Bai Zhi was unfazed, simply fanning a hand to clear the smell away as he reached for the door handle.

”Oh…
This smells a bit like rotting… ”

”Wait! Hang on a minute! ” A panicked Kitty cut him off before he could finish his sentence.

”Hmm? What is it now? ”

”I…
I can ’t look… ”

The girl who had been pulling at the hem of his shirt was now clinging to his arm and shaking like a leaf, and Bai Zhi regarded her with mild disappointment.

”Ah, not so much puss in boots as puss in denial… ”

As he muttered to himself, Bai Zhi gave the door a tug, and it opened with a soft sucking noise as the rubber lining peeled away.

As the door swung open, Bai Zhi found himself staring directly at a human face.
A sticky, red liquid oozed out from within the fridge, dripping down the door and carving a meandering path as it crept toward his foot.

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