Chapter 55 – The Coach Bound for the Underworld

6-8 minutes 10.03.2023

The large coach bus glided smoothly along a wide road.

Inside, in the window seat of the very last row, Bai Zhi read the short, but clearly acrimonious text and raised a single, amused eyebrow.

…They managed to stomach even that? Perhaps they're not the sharpest tool in the shed…

Now that he knew how far he could push the supernatural entity texting him, it made executing the rest of his plan easier.
Bai Zhi knew it was time to rein it in, so as he readied Bane in one hand, he sent out his next text with a much more cooperative tone.

What's the deal with this bus? Why can't I get off?>

After a few seconds, Bai Zhi got a text that revealed a surprising fact.

After a brief silence, his counterpart dumped a long text on him.

The Underworld I'm referring to is not the same place you may think you know from your legends.>

Without waiting for Bai Zhi's response, they sent another text immediately after the last one.

By the way, are there any succubi in the Underworld? Scantily clad, really hot chicks, you know? If there are lolita-types, even better.
I'd love to bring home a loli succubus.>

<...Could you get it together? We're talking about a serious life-or-death situation here!>

<......Trust no-one, touch nothing, don't eat or drink anything.
If you make it back somehow, I'll find you.>

That was the last message Bai Zhi received.

<...Just this?>

After several messages like these went unanswered, Bai Zhi put down his phone dejectedly, slumped back in his seat, and turned to look out the window.

He had boarded the bus at around ten in the morning, and the sky outside was still bright and clear.
The dazzling sunlight shining through the window landed squarely on Bai Zhi, bathing him in warmth.

Unlike the other passengers, who had drawn the curtains to shield themselves from the sun, he had kept them open while he tested if the Shadowland Pass would work inside the bus—unsuccessfully, of course.

So, this is the Underworld Coach, huh… 4887

After trying to see if he could open the window and jump ship, to no avail, Bai Zhi glanced at the road ahead.
Finding it as ordinary as ever, he turned to his mobile phone and pulled up a web browser.

[ His Girlfriend Logged In to His Bronze-Ranked Account by Accident and Everyone was Stunned…

[ War Hero Returns to Find Wife Humiliated and Daughter Living in a Kennel, Calls Down Regiment of Soldiers with a Snap of His Fingers…

As soon as he loaded the homepage, advertisements for a couple of webnovels popped up, the kind that seemed popular with the common people.

These ads seem to be coming up a lot lately…

To entertain himself, a thoroughly-bored Bai Zhi smirked as he imagined alternate endings for those tropes.

“His Girlfriend Logged In to His Bronze-Ranked Account by Accident and Everyone was Stunned”… because the embarrassing fool who had been stuck at Bronze ever since the game was launched had the audacity to come back to her!

“War Hero Returns to Find Wife Humiliated and Daughter Living in a Kennel, Calls Down Regiment of Soldiers with a Snap of His Fingers”… and gets pummeled while they chew him out for wasting their time, then they build him a kennel—huh?

Suddenly, a shadow flickered at the corner of his eye and Bai Zhi turned to look out the window at the massive thing in the sky outside.
Almost instinctively, he brought his phone up and started to record a video.

It was the undulating, scaly body of a giant white snake that stretched out for miles and was large enough to block out the sun.
It looked big enough to swallow the coach, no, perhaps even the entire road.

In the next few seconds, the shadow cast by the snake began to fade as it floated away, but the shadow was proof that the snake was no hallucination but a real, physical body.

Bai Zhi looked through the footage he had just recorded.

Well, well…
That's like as not to be a neutral creep.

As he began to form an idea of what the white snake could be, he made a strange expression.

…or the harbinger of a large-scale Game, perhaps?

Unfortunately, he was stuck in the bus with no way out, neither from the doors, windows, nor any other means—his failed attempt to use the Shadowland Pass while he had been chatting with the supernatural entity over text had proved the last point.

Just then, a figure loomed next to Bai Zhi.
As he turned to look, Bai Zhi was surprised to find that it was the university student who had been in the seat in front of him, who had removed their earphones and was now fixing him with an intense, wide-eyed stare.

Bai Zhi glanced toward the front of the bus but was unable to see anything clearly as the student was in the way.
Thinking quickly, he pulled out a pack of chewing gum from his pocket and offered it to the other person.

“Bro, have a stick?”

“I have something to tell you, but you can't freak out,” the student whispered as he took a stick of chewing gum.
“There's something wrong with this bus.”

“Mm, and?” Bai Zhi nodded gravely, stuffing the rest of the gum back into his pocket.
“What did you notice about the bus that was so unusual?”

The student also pocketed the stick of gum he had taken, but instead of answering Bai Zhi's question, asked one of his own in a low voice.
“What's the most terrifying thing you can imagine happening in a bus where nobody can get in or out?”

Search for the original.

Bai Zhi played along, quirking an eyebrow as he replied, “Gaining or losing a passenger?”

“No, there's something even scarier than that.” The student looked Bai Zhi dead in the eyes.
“It's gaining—or losing—half a passenger.”

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