This chapter is translated by Rin, edited by Cia, and proofread by Kris Xian.

The province next to Lu Yans location was the Fuling Province. It was established in a coastal area and was economically developed.

As the RV turned and went up the mountain, Zhou Qiming vomited into an empty plastic bag. “This is more remote than our poor village in Bashu. Is there really a village in Fuling Province?”

Due to the bumpy roads, he had been gagging the whole way. Good thing he hadnt eaten yet, so he didnt throw up anything.

Since they departed from K City to here, seven hours had already passed. The watch on Lu Yans hand detected that he had left K City five hours ago. He immediately received a message from Su Fufeng asking him what he was doing outside the province.

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Lu Yan replied, For travel.

He didnt have any intention of turning off the GPS tracker. In case something happened, the PDC would surely come to rescue him on the account that he belonged to the healing system.

As the altitude rose, even with the naked eye, a layer of white fog could be seen surrounding the area. The temperature had also decreased by a lot. One could make out abandoned villages through the fog, the prosperity of the past could be vaguely seen.

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Fkdnl bkp puxckspkp okvb vbl Ikdtqkpb, bl bye nsxl vs ryavknwzyazu zkjl aykdu eyup.

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Rv oyp y tsse vbkdt vbyv yzvbswtb vbl xswdvykd asye oyp y ckv okdeu yde cwxru, kv oypdv dyaaso. Xvblaokpl, vblu oswze dlle vs nsdpkela vbl rsppkckzkvu sq vbl nya tlvvkdt shlavwadle.   

Ubld Fbkla obs pyv kd qasdv pweeldzu vbalo bkp rbsdl kd ydtla, “Pyxd. Ls dlvosaj, Rx pvkzz rzyukdt aydj!”

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“Mbl cspp alqwple vs clzklhl kd vblpl qyzzynklp, ps bl pldv y rakhyvl xlppytl vs vbl rspvla ypjkdt qsa y ewlz. Gv zypv, vbl svbla pkel vbalo swv vbl yeealpp sq vbl Paytsd Yykeld Nyjl,” Plvlnvkhl pyke.

The one who was in charge of driving was Detective. He was Zhou Qimings secretary. He was a meticulous and calm person but solely belonged to the support system. He was said to be a commercial spy with the ability of Infiltration and Counter-Reconnaissance. His combat power was only half of Lu Yans.

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Zhou Qiming felt gloomy. “I think I was set up in a badger game.1 I havent surfed the forum for 800 years. Then when I finally decided to go online for once, I saw such a dumb post, and it just happened to target Class B Enlighteneds like me, who was also currently idle.”

As the drive had already gone on for too long, Lu Yan cooked a meal in the car. Lamb stew and scrambled eggs with onions. The lamb was sent from the Pinghe grassland by flight and was exceedingly fragrant. The people in the vehicle ate like three little pigs.

Chen Shier was so touched he almost cried. “This is just so tasty. My sense of taste has degraded, I havent known the taste of salt for seven to eight years. I really have no regrets anymore after eating this meal!”

Detective told him not to plant such a terrifying flag.

At four oclock in the afternoon, the RV finally arrived at the entrance of the Dragon Maiden Village.

The terrain here was very unique, Dragon Maiden Village was located in the bottom of a valley. It was surrounded by mountains on all sides, which made it hard to access. At its center was a calm and clear lake, shimmering beautifully under the sunlight.

The houses in the village were all brick houses of two or three storeys. There were also a few long-scrapped Mercedes parked along the roadside. It seemed that the people in the village were not completely without financial means.

There was no one on the road. If not for the occasional barking of dogs, it would be like a deserted village. Lu Yans five senses were very sharp, he could feel that someone was watching them through the window. He looked up and saw that all of the people there were strange men of varying ages.

Chen Shier took out an instrument and started testing.

Pollution degree: 30.

Even ordinary Anura2 who had just been polluted already had a pollution degree of 100, this value was indeed too low to raise ones guard.

“It was also like this when I came last time.” Zhou Qiming got out of the car and breathed in the fresh air. “They dont seem to like going out and meeting people here because they are pregnant. Their currency is also not circulating, theyre extremely xenophobic. I only got a place to live through modifying the memories of a few villagers with my ability.”

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Zhou Qiming was an Enlightened who belonged to the special system.

His ability was called “Virtual World,” ranked 39.

In Zhou Qimings mind, the real world could be viewed as a large RPG game. Everyone around him was a game character, including himself.

Zhou Qimings ability allowed him to add settings to these game characters that were within his capabilities. Whether or not he could succeed, depending on how intricate the setting was.

For example, it was easy to add the setting “Zhou Qiming is a member of the village” in the minds of the villagers. But to add a setting like “Zhou Qiming will not die,” he wouldnt be able to do this even if his mutation degree burst out of the meter and he turned into a Pollutant.

In Zhou Qimings world, Lu Yans character was actually a bit strange.

For example, for Chen Shier, the name on his head was “Martial Arts Monk – Chen Shier” above the name was his title “Shaolin Temple Heir.” This way, even if it was his first time meeting a stranger, Zhou Qiming could probably understand some of their information.

The title of Lu Yan was “Dr. Cannibal Flower,” which he found somewhat puzzling.

Zhou Qiming could also be considered a person who could bear hardship, but the environment in Dragon Maiden Village was really too poor. Because of the heavy humidity and low latitude, crawling insects filled the underside of the mats. Insects with shells, without shells— they were all there. This was also the reason why he was determined to drive the RV.

Lu Yan asked straightforwardly, “Wheres the source of pollution?”

The System smiled, [The bottom of the lake. But I suggest you dont go directly or youll be sending yourselves to your deaths. Wander around the village first. I will give you some reminders.]

Lu Yan felt that the System was really unreliable, talking like a riddler.

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There was no doubt that it didnt have the intention of harming Lu Yan, it could even provide much necessary help. But Lu Yan had a vague feeling that even if he died, the System would just find a next host.

The System might be a little troublesome, but he was not its only option. Just like Lu Jiahe who was chosen by “something” through the Wall of Resentment.

When Lu Yan suggested that he wanted to look around, Zhou Qiming chose to accompany him without reluctance.

The village wasnt big, it took less than 20 minutes to walk from one end to another. Further ahead, there was the Dragon Maiden Lake.

Lu Yan discovered something. In the courtyard of every house, there was a well. They didnt look like ordinary wells, many had rusted chains hanging in the mouth of the well, straight down to its depths.

This well was called “King Yus Dragon Prison Well.” 

He walked into the half-open courtyard overgrown with weeds and observed it carefully. The front of the well was engraved with the date of its construction, September 1, 2101.

“They said this kind of well was built to suppress the Scaled Dragons that sent floods.” Lu Yan said, “Now its become very convenient to get access to water and electricity. There are likely fewer people who would want to build wells, not to mention a Dragon Prison Well. These are not for drinking water, theyre most likely used to suppress something.”

“Though the talk of ghosts and gods is purely absurd, I think that this is an indication. Since twenty years ago, this place has been polluted and some kind of mutation has occurred.”

Zhou Qiming nodded. “You have a point.”

The door, which had been closed tightly, opened a gap at that moment. A middle-aged man with a gloomy complexion looked at them through the gap and asked coldly, “Who are you guys? What are you doing?”

Lu Yan took out the document issued by the PDC. “I am a staff member from the PDC. I received a report from the public that theres a contagious pollution disease here. So weve come to investigate the situation.”

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His tone was calm and certain, somehow inexplicably convincing.

The middle-aged mans expression was still vigilant. “No need! You guys hurry up and leave! Its for your own good.”

Zhou Qiming had to add a setting in his mind, “Zhou Qiming is my son, who brought his classmates back from vacation to play.”

The middle-aged mans eyes were confused for a moment, and the next moment, he opened the door angrily and gave Zhou Qiming a backhanded slap. “Didnt I tell you not to come back! Why did you come back! You unfilial son, are you trying to make me angry!”

Zhou Qiming, “…”

He had wanted to slap back, but this action might be out of character. If that happened, he would have to use his ability again, which was very troublesome, so he had to hold back.

The middle-aged man was called Wang Jianjun. His stomach was abnormally swollen, like a ball that would burst at any time. The greenish-black belly had deep purple veins. Organs and bones could no longer be seen through the half-translucent belly, it was only filled with amniotic fluid, and what was inside was no longer a fetus, but a three or four-year-old child.

This childs human body looked very incongruous. It looked more like a water monkey than a human.

“Dad,” Zhou Qiming asked glumly, “Whats with this belly of yours? Its getting bigger and bigger.”

Wang Jianjun looked at the Dragon Prison Well. “Dont mention it, come in first.”

Wang Jianjun was happy that his son, whom he hadnt seen for several years, had come back, even though he had disobeyed him. He took out a bottle of 82-year-old Flying Moutai, peeled two plates of peanut that would go well with the wine, and turned on a dim light.

“The village chief said, these are all retributions…” After drinking a few glasses of wine, Wang Jianjuns face became abnormally red as tears coursed down, “At first, in order to earn money, we made offerings to the Dragon Maiden. After we earned the money, we lost focus and forgot about the Dragon Maiden, these are all retributions. The people who left the village earned money but did not return, all of them have died. Their whole family died. Dad asked you to study outside, I came back by myself due to the situation, why did you still want to come back!”

“Uncle, what do you mean by making offerings to the Dragon Maiden?” Lu Yan keenly captured the keywords.

Wang Jianjun wiped the tears on his face. “The Dragon Maiden Village is too inaccessible and has always been poor. Twenty years ago, a feng shui master passed by. He said that this was a prosperous place, but has stayed poor due to the Great Flood. The Dragon Maiden was locked at the bottom of the lake and hence had her grievances. As long as we made offerings of livestocks to the Dragon Maiden every year, we could become rich and prosperous.”

“Later, everyone made an offering to the Dragon Maiden, and left the mountains. Within a few months, they became wealthy. I also moved out with your mother and gave birth to you outside. After five years, there was no one left in the village, no one would come back after earning money. As a result, after another five years, the people that came from this village started dying every year. All of them died by drowning… This was when someone felt that something was wrong. The village chief said that the Dragon Maiden told him in his dream that we didnt keep our word. By then the rest of the people had no choice but to return to the Dragon Maiden Village.”

“In the beginning, everyone was still talking and laughing. But within two years, all the people who returned had become pregnant. Dont you think this is strange? Someone wanted to go out to see a doctor but encountered a ghost wall. He drove for three days but still couldnt get out!”

“Later, the man said, every time he wanted to go out of the mountain, he didnt know why but he would return to Dragon Maiden Lake. He would even see a bunch of women laughing in the lake.”

As Wang Jianjun talked about this matter, his face turned to look more defeated and hideous, as if reliving a great horror.

Zhou Qimings eyebrows frowned. As an Enlightened, he didnt believe in ghosts and gods at all. Even if there was something unscientific, most likely it was just a source of pollution.

But ordinary people obviously didnt know. There was no signal here as well. Being in a long-term high-pressure state, it was already considered good if they didnt go crazy.

Zhou Qiming whispered to Lu Yan, “I think that so-called Dragon Maiden is most likely the source of pollution.”

Lu Yan obviously knew this already, but he was still curious about one more thing.

“Only males get pregnant?” Lu Yan looked around and didnt see any female products in this room, even the shoes placed in the doorway were all belonging to a man, “Where is aunty?”

Since he entered the village, Lu Yan had not seen a woman. Even the dogs barking wildly on the roadside were all males.

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