Kneel to MeChapters List
Chapter 37: Original World 
This was not her world; she came from a blue planet called Earth, which was a hundred times smaller than this one.
Click! The sound of the camera shutter being pressed came from nearby.
A large group of reporters rushed towards her, and the police immediately stepped forward. They shot several silver balls from their guns that exploded in mid-air, forming a metal wire net to block the approaching journalists.
"Let us interview Song Juyao!"
"Miss Song, do you have anything to say about your case?"
"Ignore them, get in the car quickly," the female police officer urged.
Song Juyao bent down and got into the police car, but the excited reporters refused to give up. They controlled flying cameras and continued to chase after her, frantically filming inside the car even after it started moving. Only after the police shot down the cameras did they finally stop.
"Those damn paparazzi..." cursed one of the police officers who shot down the cameras. In the past, some reporters would appear after each episode of "Justice Trial," but they were always few in number. This time, however, it was like a swarm of bees; they were not prepared for such an onslaught.
But upon further thought, it was understandable. It was their lack of thorough consideration. He glanced back.
Song Juyao was gazing out of the window at the passing streets. She had endured mental torment in prison, suffering unbearable pain. At this moment, her chin was sharp and thin, and her eyes looked profound and distant, as if she were contemplating something.
He thought about everything he saw about her in the virtual world, and his heart tightened slightly. He felt a bit embarrassed, so he turned his head away.
Song Juyao's eyes flicked to the young police officer sitting diagonally in front of her, and then back to the view outside the window.
Tall buildings lined the street, and street-cleaning robots roamed around, keeping the entire city spotlessly clean. LED billboards on the high-rise buildings displayed advertisements of a famous combat star's underwear. He was a cyborg; half-human, half-mechanical being with a mechanical lower body. In the past, the girls in the college dormitory often fantasized about his girlfriend and his sex life, imagining it to be quite exciting…
In this world, issues like organ failure, physical weakness, and other human fears were no longer a concern. If the heart failed, it could be replaced with a mechanical one. If an arm needed to be amputated, it could be replaced with a mechanical one. Mechanical limbs were light and agile, not affecting daily life. If an eye went bad, it could be directly replaced with an artificial eye. If one had special interests, they could even add favorite filters to the eye to make the world appear more beautiful…
Song Juyao had always believed that the end of science was theology.
What she saw in this world was indeed a kind of science with a touch of theology.
This world was unique. The ones in power were not humans but the royal family, and the royal family were not humans but the true masters of this land.
Legend has it that when human ancestors set foot on this land, they signed a covenant with its masters, becoming their subjects while the royal family became the protectors of humans. When this master was born, every citizen felt a mysterious connection with them.
For tens of thousands of years, the royal family led the humans on their territories, establishing their own countries. Each royal family had their own characteristics. Some loved the primitive jungle, and thus the Jungle Kingdom of Alps was formed. The citizens of the Alps lived a very primitive life, but they were all fierce warriors possessing exceptional physical strength. A single member of their community could take on fifty fighters from a country like Song Juyao's, relying solely on their raw strength and skills, if they don't use any advanced technological weapons.
The royal family of her own empire—His Majesty the King—was a technology fanatic. Under his leadership, the country developed rapidly and became the richest and most powerful. His creations gave the citizens of this country lifespans far beyond those of citizens in other countries. While other countries occasionally suffered from famine, the people in this country lived in abundance with enough food and clothing.
Compared to the kings of other countries in this world, their king was actually quite good. The king of the Fire Kingdom was insanely brutal, turning his country into a hellish place where people fought in an arena, with several randomly chosen citizens killing each other every day. The winner would receive money, and the losers deserved their deaths.
As for their king, he granted humans the right to set their own rules, allowing them to establish their own governments. Perhaps this was just because he was too lazy to manage them. However, based on past cases, it was known that if he saw any injustice, he would intervene. Although no one knew why, in recent years, he had become unpredictable, and his methods of punishment had become more and more brutal.
The existence of the king intimidated all the powerful figures in the country, leaving Song Juyao with some room to struggle.
One hundred million votes were her ticket to meet him. Of course, if she had a greater impact, he might notice her even before the votes were cast, and the King's Inspection Team might dispatch in advance to re-examine her case.
For some reason, Song Juyao suddenly thought of another legend about the royal family and humans, but then she dismissed it from her mind. Matters of life and death left no time to think about such insignificant things.
"Song Juyao, someone is here to see you."
Song Juyao sat in her cold cell, and raised her head upon hearing this.
Outside the glass, a tall man in a suit and leather shoes was standing there, staring at her.
Song Juyao gazed back at him, feeling somewhat puzzled.
Huo Sen instantly understood that Song Juyao didn't remember him. This made him tighten his lips, but he quickly concealed his emotions.
"I am Huo Sen."
A member of the Huo family... Huo Hai's elder brother.
Song Juyao looked at him expressionlessly.
The prison door opened, and Huo Sen walked in and sat opposite her.
"I came here today to discuss a condition with you."
Song Juyao made a gesture encouraging him to speak.
"You are smart, and you should know that no prisoner has ever obtained a sentence reduction through 'Justice Trial.' The first episode had a good response, but that was simply the negligence of the production team, underestimating your outcome. You won't be as lucky in the upcoming trials."
"I can help you reduce your sentence to five years, as long as you give up participating in 'Justice Trial.'"
Reducing a life sentence to five years of imprisonment, and avoiding the risk of continuing to participate in 'Justice Trial,' where so many viewers would criticize her. Instead of leaving her fate to them, it seemed like a very profitable deal.
If it were an ordinary prisoner, even if they were unwilling, they might grit their teeth and accept it. Compared to a distant and uncertain path, this was a shortcut.
Song Juyao: "Yuan Manzhi probably won't let me leave alive."
Huo Sen: "I won't let her hurt you."
His words made Song Juyao pause for a moment, then she smiled. Huo Sen looked at her smile, feeling taken aback.
"Mr. Huo, you like me," Song Juyao said with certainty.
Huo Sen did not deny it, "Five years later, I will come and take you away. You don't have to worry about falling behind the times; I will take care of your life."
"But what you like even more is yourself," Song Juyao disregarded his words and continued, "You are only afraid that I will catch the King's attention, and everything the Huo family does behind the scenes will be discovered, leading to its downfall. You're saying all this not because you like me, but to ensure the safety of the Huo family."
Looking at Song Juyao's eyes that seemed to see through everything, Huo Sen clenched his fist. "You should know what a formidable enemy you're facing. Your case not only implicates the Huo family, but also many others. Even if the Huo family doesn't act, others won't let you off easily."
"A formidable enemy?" Song Juyao smiled, "Then, can my formidable enemies stop me from participating in the second round?"
Huo Sen was stunned.
"Behind 'Justice Trial' are the nobles. The Huo family is just one of the investors who only got the chance to invest a little money after a lot of hard work. You Huo family members are probably not even involved in the decision-making, right? Although I don't know how I performed in the first episode, judging from those journalists who were chasing after me to take a picture, I at least received a lot of attention, more attention than any previous defendant. In other words, I made the major shareholders a lot of money. Who wouldn't like a cash cow? They launched this show just to make money, right?"
"In the eyes of those nobles, what does the life or death of your Huo family or anyone who conspires with your Huo family, have anything to do with them?"
As Song Juyao laughed, Huo Sen felt a sense of contempt and mockery from top to bottom, as if she was ridiculing him for being self-righteous, and that it wasn't his turn to protect her at all. The shareholders of 'Justice Trial' would not allow her to be harmed outside the virtual world.
Huo Sen's face turned ugly.
In the Huo family residence, Yuan Manzhi looked at the grievance redressal votes filed for Song Juyao, as well as the crazy online discussions. Some netizens even started to dig into Huo Hai's identity and background, and some claimed to be Huo Hai's classmates, came out to say how her son was. Although she immediately had those posts deleted, they kept reappearing, and she couldn't delete them all.
This infuriated her so much that her forehead veins were about to burst. She decided to kill Song Juyao immediately. She couldn't wait any longer. Why should Song Juyao live so many more years in the virtual world?
"Poison her food, or stage her suicide, or let other prisoners beat her to death during their outdoor time, any method will do. I want her dead!" She gave these orders to someone over the phone.
However, the person on the other end fell silent.
"Hello? What's wrong with you? Talk, is it that difficult?" There are hundreds of ways to make a prisoner die in prison!
"It is really... very difficult," the person on the other end said. "If I help you, I will be the next one to die. So, I'm sorry, I can't help you."
The call was hung up.
Yuan Manzhi couldn't believe it and immediately made several more calls, only to receive the same response each time.
"Song Juyao is indeed still a prisoner, but she's no longer an ordinary one. You can't just kill her whenever you want." Someone kindly reminded her, "I advise you to be more restrained. Otherwise, you might offend some important figures and face retaliation."
The Huo family was indeed one of the top families in ordinary high society, but there were still nobles above them. The nobles didn't care whether Song Juyao was wrongly accused or not. But now, she was a money-making tree, earning them a lot of money in the first episode. If the Huo family were to lay hands on her, it would be a violation of the nobles' interests and dignity. Who would dare touch her?
Yuan Manzhi felt a surge of blood rush to her head, and a metallic scent of blood filled her throat. Her vision blurred, and she finally fainted from anger.
Star Dream Factory.
Justice Trial conference room.
The program team was discussing the upcoming second episode of Song Juyao.
Just as Tan Wei had thought at the beginning, those temporary NPCs didn't create any waves and silently swallowed their bitterness. The second round would proceed as scheduled.
"In the first round, we underestimated Song Juyao. For the second episode, we should set a more dangerous and darker world, giving her no room to maneuver!" Tan Wei said. He still had bruises on his face, reminding him of how much embarrassment Song Juyao had given him.
Online, people were criticizing the program team, and as the chief director, he naturally received the harshest criticism. They even compared him to the previous chief directors of "Justice Trial," calling him the most useless one, which infuriated him so much that he had to take several quick-acting heart pills.
But Tang Shan, one of the assistant directors, had a different opinion. "Are we just going to increase the difficulty of the virtual world directly? Many netizens believe that's what we would do because they think we're useless and that's the only way we could come up with to challenge Song Juyao's soul."
Upon hearing this, Tan Wei's expression grew even uglier.
"According to our online survey, over fifty percent of netizens believe that Song Juyao's exceptional performance in the first round was due to pure luck," another assistant director said.
"Luckily participating in 'I Am the Big Winner,' luckily meeting the kind-hearted Peng Jia, luckily befriending the siblings Ren Yulin and Ren Jiaqi, luckily becoming a student of Albert, and even her crush, Jiang Baiqi, turned out to be such a remarkable character... In her first episode of life, she encountered too many benefactors. They think that Song Juyao might not perform as well in the next episode."
Hearing this, Tan Wei's complexion eased slightly.
Tang Shan added, "The audience is already familiar with the rhythm of our trial show. The difficulty of the worlds gradually increases from a normal setting to a high-risk setting. Skipping the intermediate steps and directly entering a high-risk world might make the audience feel that we lost to Song Juyao, and we'd completely fall from grace."
Gradually, Tan Wei was persuaded. To lose to Song Juyao sounded infuriating. Yes, her performance in the first round might have been due to a stroke of luck, and the family background they created for her wasn't that complicated to decipher.
Dizzy with anger, if they haphazardly arranged a world that was only meant to be introduced to defendants during the later stages, then even if Song Juyao suffered miserably, the program team also might not escape the fate of being ridiculed.
She had merely been conceited in the first round, and in the next round, she might turn into an ugly and annoying character. In this way, the program team would truly even the score.
A forum called "Day Will Dawn" required a special invitation code for entry. At this moment, the entire forum was hosting a group chat room, which appeared before the eyes of all forum members.
There were already 20,000 online users. Of course, compared to the country's population of 5 billion, this number was a drop in the ocean. The daily death toll due to various reasons exceeded this count.
However, these 20,000 people were the hardcore loyal fans who the forum creators and administrators had invited after rigorous screening and investigation, people who would never betray Song Juyao.
Every one of them had cast at least two votes for Song Juyao.
[Have you voted? If not, hurry up and vote 'The exceptional performance of Song Juyao in the first round was all luck.']
[For those who have time, go to different topics and set the rhythm. Abusing the program team won't work; they will definitely make it difficult for Song Juyao by increasing the difficulty of the virtual world in the second round. Don't copy and paste; your comments should appear as if they were made by different people.]
[I've posted ten comments already, I'm almost going crazy, but it's for Yaoyao, so I'm going to rush!]
[I've posted, I've used my family's contact numbers to register multiple accounts, okkkkk!]
[After the program team suffered such a big loss, they will definitely give Yaoyao a challenging world in the next round. Although such a world will come for sure, as guardians, we must do our best to protect her!]
[Protect Yaoyao's smile!]
[Today's payday, but I don't have enough credit points to buy the ticket. Is there anyone with extra credit points who can PM me? I'll transfer money to you, and you can buy the ticket for me.]
[I have a lot of credits. I'll give you a private message.]
Twenty thousand forum members, each highly active, their faces reflected on the screen, male or female, varying in age. They were loyal, fervent, dedicating their time, money, and emotions as if it were a matter of faith.
[Next round, she definitely won't let us down either.]
[Everyone, we are doing something very challenging, but we must believe that as long as we keep going, the dawn will surely come.]
[We need to support that person and walk towards the dawn!]
The forum had a faint background image, which was the scene of Song Juyao standing on the flag-raising platform during the first episode, giving a speech to the specially admitted students. The girl was radiating light, illuminating everyone there.
Half a month had passed in the blink of an eye.
The online buzz about the first round and Song Juyao was just starting to die down when news about the second round began trending.
#Justice Trial Phase2#
#List of Celebrity Judges#
【This time there are several more celebrity judges compared to the first episode. Looks like they are afraid that it may be difficult for only two judges to handle Song Juyao.】
【Isn't it normal for the number of celebrity judges to increase each round? Why do you keep linking everything to Song Juyao being formidable? Let's see if she can perform like in the first round.】
【Hope they won't be as ineffective as Tang Kai and Ming Shu.】
【The first round's situation was so special, it's normal for Tang Kai and Ming Shu to be powerless. If you think you can do better, why don't you step up?】
【Ahhhh, finally, it's about to start! I've been waiting so eagerly!!】
【Time to tune in for the live broadcast again!】
【Let's start, let's start!】
In the broadcasting hall of "Justice Trial," the day before the second round began, the staff conducted the final equipment check, and the program team also finalized their plans.
"Are we going to start the live broadcast from Song Juyao's 18th birthday this time as well?"
Usually, they wouldn't start the live broadcast from the defendant's childhood because showing abuse or harm to young children might cause discomfort and evoke sympathy among some viewers. Also, since the live broadcast only lasted for half a month, the early childhood period of the defendant usually wasn't very engaging. Therefore, they usually started the live broadcast from a later stage of the defendant's life when they had grown up.
However, the impact given to them by Song Juyao's appearance in the first episode was still fresh in their mind.
Tan Wei looked at the script and a smug smirk appeared on his face. "Starting from her 18th birthday. I don't buy it… I don't believe that she can still perform like she did in the first round again."
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