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Kneel to Me

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Chapter 51: Second Arc [14]

After dealing with all this, everyone found a room to freshen up and changed into clean clothes from the closet. As if to make up for the faults of mother and son, Li Xin made dinner for everyone downstairs by herself, and called them down to eat with enthusiasm.

Everyone's stomachs were growling with hunger, and even though Li Xin's culinary skills were quite average, they devoured their food as if they had stumbled upon a heavenly feast.

It wasn't until they finished their dinner, with their stomachs filled and the comfort of their secure surroundings, that their emotions began to unwind. Along with that came various emotions they hadn't had the time to feel during their desperate escape: the sense of being thrown into this place, their own moments of breakdown and despair, the terrifying sight of their companions being devoured, and the fear of the unknown future. These emotions surged over them like a raging tidal wave.

They sat on the couch, clutching their heads and sobbing.

Evans also felt fidgety and looked at Song Juyao.

Among them, Song Juyao was the only one who appeared composed. She furrowed her brow slightly, her hand on her chin as she sank into deep thought. Her leadership qualities were gradually becoming evident. After surviving the ordeal of escaping from the wolves last night, the others had already started to see her as the alpha wolf in their hearts. Now seeing her like this, they couldn't help but look at her expectantly, and even they themselves didn't know what they were expecting.

"Compared to the fact that Fanxing Group tricked us here to be unknown guinea pigs, and the live variety show is all a lie, I'm more inclined to the fact that we're indeed in the middle of a live broadcast. There are many viewers watching our every move." Song Juyao said.

"If we were just ordinary guinea pigs, why would they go through so much trouble to get you guys to participate? You're all big celebrities with numerous fans and nationwide popularity. If you disappeared, wouldn't it attract the attention of the whole world? Why would they want to invite trouble?"

[She's brilliant! The others had all assumed they were just tricked by the Fanxing Group into being guinea pigs, thinking that live broadcasts and the variety show didn't exist.]

[Fanxing Group's product this time is so hardcore, she can't possibly discover the truth, can she?]

[If she can find out, that's really awesome!]

[Am I the only one who thinks Song Juyao seems rather cold-blooded? Li Quan is dead, and she can still analyze things so calmly without any grief.]

[Grief? Grief for your mother! Your mother is dead; go grieve. What kind of variety show are you watching here?]

[If she's so cold-blooded, she shouldn't bother saving them, okay?]

[A troublemaker can only be late, never absent.]

The Survival Island Paradise project team members also couldn't help but prick up their ears, their eyes wide open, watching the screen to see how Song Juyao would respond.

Others followed Song Juyao's train of thought and thought it made sense, and at the same time they started to think differently.

"What you mean is, Fanxing Group is indeed doing the variety show and the damn live broadcast, but in order to make the input and output proportional, this livestream can surely bring them a return much greater than the trouble." Stanley's forehead veins popped out.

Evans: "Is this show live streaming on the dark web?"

"A gruesome hunting game for wealthy people?"

"It's not fun to watch ordinary people, it's more fun to watch us celebrities?"

"It's too much! How can they do this?"

"They're callously disregarding human life and law, this is really a heartless conglomerate!"

Their minds were already filled with all sorts of terrifying and grim possibilities, and the more they thought about it, the more convinced they became, speaking with even more determination.

Song Juyao listened silently, as if she was being guided by them, and didn't say anything, only occasionally lowering her eyes and elegantly sipping the hot tea in her cup.

Survival Island Paradise Project Team: The group's reputation has been hit so badly.

Audience: If we weren't the ones watching the live broadcast, we almost believed your analysis .......Hahahahahahaha this is so damn funny!

Stanley was so angry that he stood up wildly showing both middle fingers in all directions, silently cursing the sadistic viewers who might be laughing hysterically at their desperate escape.

Survival Island Paradise Project Team: ...

Audience: ......Thank you, got the middle finger. Hahahahahahaha this is so f*cking fun!!

While everyone was watching Stanley angrily showing his middle finger, Jiang Baiqi's gaze shifted past him to Song Juyao, who was calmly sipping her tea behind him. She moved like a maiden, graceful and agile, making the act of drinking tea look like a work of art.

Various clothing options were available in the wardrobes in the stronghold. Most of the guests had already changed into their most comfortable and casual attire. However, both Song Juyao and Evans were still dressed in combat uniforms having jackets and quick-drying pants, the type of clothing most suitable for wilderness survival.

Evans, his sister's thigh pendant who had no use except watching fire and shouting 666, must be listening to his sister's words, which meant she was still on alert, while others had been corrupted by the warm lights, food and comfortable couches when their situation was still uncertain.

In her head, she must have had another guess about their current situation, she just didn't say it out loud.

Jiang Baiqi covered his mouth, filled with curiosity. His gray eyes were motionlessly fixed on Song Juyao. When the camera accidentally moved, blocking her from view, he instinctively probed back to see.

Then, as if realizing what he was doing, he froze for a moment, somewhat annoyed. That's when an email notification came from the computer, a special email notification sound that was set up so that he could see the message from the Dragon Slayer Princess as soon as possible. In the past, he was always happy to hear this ringtone, but at this time, he inexplicably felt a bit guilty.

After a long moment of hesitation, he opened the email and found it was a message from her agent with a sample of her new book. He let out a slight sigh of relief.

He felt like a fickle scumbag. Obviously ...... obviously the email exchanges with her before were so pleasant....

......

Even with a soft bed, this night was destined to be a sleepless one for many.

There were too many things in their heads, forming a chaotic whirlwind of thoughts.

Song Juyao had just finished washing her face when she heard a knock at the door. She opened it.

Li Xin held a glass of milk, her expression unnatural yet hopeful. "Juyao."

[I'm starting to feel embarrassed.]

[After all, she’s her biological mother, it would be nice if they could clear it out.]

[What's there to talk about? Aren’t the facts right in front of us? The Wen family only cares about Wen Zhulian. When Song Juyao was dissed before,  I didn't see any of them speak out in her defense.]

[But after all, Wen Zhulian has been raised by them for so many years. It's understandable …relationships are not something that can be broken just by saying it ......]

Song Juyao was slightly startled when she saw Li Xin. "Mrs. Li."

Upon hearing Song Juyao addressing her this way, Li Xin felt complicated, but she had no right to ask for anything.

"I thought you were awake so I brought you a glass of milk. It helps with sleep. These days must have been tough on you," Li Xin said, forcing a smile.

Song Juyao accepted the milk and politely replied, "Thank you, you've all been through a lot too."

Song Juyao's tone and demeanor signaled the end of the conversation, and it seemed like they could each return to their own rooms. However, Li Xin appeared to want to talk to her about something further. After hesitating for a moment, she added, "Juyao, we didn't know you were so good. We thought you were not doing well, so Zhulian has always wanted us to bring you back. She... although she's not your biological sister, she has a good heart."

Song Juyao understood Li Xin's intentions. It became clear that they might need to rely on Song Juyao for a way out now, but they were afraid that she might take the opportunity to retaliate against Wen Zhulian, so she came here specifically to explain.

[......so speechless, it turns out it’s all for Wen Zhulian.]

[No need to say more about the partiality of the Wen family towards fake daughter.]

[But it's understandable, right? Wen Zhulian is exceptional, and it takes years to produce such a genius. Besides, she has been with them for so long.]

[Saying it as if the real daughter isn't exceptional.]

Song Juyao nodded her head, very calm and gentle, treating her the same as anyone else in this house, "I believe her heart is good. It's very late, you should get some rest."

"Uh... alright," Li Xin could only leave.

Li Xin's room was next to Li Dada's. Seeing Li Dada come up from downstairs with cigarettes, she held her hand and said, "Your father will be fine."

"Yeah?" A glimmer of something flashed in Li Dada's eyes, and she forced a smile at her, "Zhuzhu will be fine too."

They both looked down on their wristbands and saw that the green light dot representing Wen Zhulian was slowly moving in their direction.

......

Song Juyao held the warm glass of milk in her hand and walked out to the balcony. There wasn't much of a view around, just the forest. The bright moon hung high in the sky, its pure radiance intermingling with an unsettling crimson color.

Voices of Stanley and Addison floated up from the balcony below.

Song Juyao didn't mean to eavesdrop, but this villa's soundproofing wasn't very good.

"Shall we talk?" Stanley said.

"...... Okay." It was followed by Addison's familiar voice, always full of hesitation and uncertainty.

Father was an international action movie star, but Addison was just a scrawny teenager. He was seventeen but looked a little younger than his years. He had delicate features, a slender frame, and always spoke in a tone filled with uncertainty. He was a loner and an outcast at school, where his classmates considered him a weirdo. The relationship between father and son had always been strange, as if there was a thick layer of something in between.

Like there is a thick layer of something between them.

This man, who was just energetically showing middle fingers downstairs to everyone and looked optimistic and strong, was now sitting face to face with his skinny son. His bald head, along with his piercing and complex eyes, was fixed on his son.

Addison's large eyes, inherited from his mother, looked at him as well but they were only filled with discomfort.

"As you know, we're stuck in a difficult situation right now, and maybe at some point, we'll have to say goodbye, so I think we need to have a heart-to-heart to talk."

Addison: "...... What do you want to talk about?"

"How are you doing at school?"

Addison: "Just so-so."

"Have you gotten a girlfriend yet?"

Addison: "Uh... maybe. A girl from a lower grade."

"Wow, how is she?"

"She's...... okay, pretty cool."

Song Juyao: ...

Audience: ...

A very father-son chat.

Song Juyao, listening to the awkward conversation between father and son for a few moments, was about to go back with her milk when she heard the voice from downstairs.

Addison: "I've always remembered."

Stanley froze, "What?"

The teenager said, "When I was 5, my mom hung herself in front of me."

Song Juyao was stunned, she just heard silence downstairs, then Stanley's voice came: "Can you forgive me?"

Addison, still in that somewhat lukewarm tone, spoke words that broke his father's heart, "I don't think so."

[Ahhhhhhhh I remember Stanley's wife committed suicide due to depression.]

[My heart is shattered, I didn't know that.]

[Postpartum depression?]

[Crying]

There was no more sound from downstairs. Song Juyao  gently breathed a sigh of relief and walked into her bedroom.

This night everyone had a lot of things on their minds, even the soft bed could not let them sleep peacefully. The Li family, while taking care of Meng Cong, who had a high fever, and the Chang mother, who was also taking care of Chang Youqing, were all dealing with their own concerns. Li Dada in the balcony smoked cigarette after cigarette, and the barrage comments were debating whether this was the collapse of the persona or stress caused because of her concern for her father. Li Xin and Wen Yingting were worried about their family members but also tormented by guilt for indirectly causing Li Quan's death...

Next door came a sound of gently strumming a guitar. It was Evans, who had a sister who can do everything, writing a song ......

......

The next day.

The sun slowly illuminated the dark and mysterious island.

The people in the villa, however, were still asleep because they went to bed just before dawn.

Only the Li couple were up. Their eyes were red as they carried Li Quan's lifeless body out of the villa, took the shovel with them, and disappeared into the forest.

On the other side, Wen Zhulian and her group walked along the riverbank, occasionally leaving a trail of footprints in the muddy shore.

During the break, one of their companions, who was good at climbing trees, climbed to the top of a tree to look at the surroundings, and then saw the pointed roof in the distance.

"The stronghold! They're in the stronghold!" The companion shouted excitedly.

The team was instantly overjoyed. Their food had run out long ago. Everyone came with the mindset to participate in the variety show, they casually brought some supplies with them, it wasn't enough to sustain them for long. Some of the electrical appliances that they brought, such as the kettle, had long since broken or lost. Some people had been vomiting and having diarrhea all day long from drinking unclean water and looked like they were about to die.

At this time, they found the stronghold! There must be some useful things in the base!

With newfound hope, they rose to their feet and set off again, gritting their teeth, and finally arrived at this incredibly warm villa at night.

"Mom! Brother!" Wen Zhulian instantly shouted out loud. Li Xin and Wen Yingting upstairs looked over and were pleasantly surprised.

The arrival of a group of people immediately livened up the whole villa.

"Quick, come in quickly! You must be hungry, I'll prepare food for you right away!"

"Someone's been injured, mom, is there any medicine? We need first aid here!" Wen Zhulian immediately got into character, fussing around, "How's Brother Qing? Where's Auntie Chang? I'm dying of worry! It's all my fault, if it wasn't for me not holding onto Zhenzhen..."

When Chang's mother saw Wen Zhulian, she felt extremely happy. Being asked questions of concern by We Zhulian, she felt as if warmed by this thoughtful little cotton padded jacket. She nodded repeatedly: "Your brother Qing is very strong. After all, he is still young. His fever is almost gone. As for Zhenzhen's matter... no one can be blamed for it… you can't blame yourself for that..."

"Dada! How are you, Dada? Look, I brought your father back safe and sound!"

"Sister Ling, where's Li Quan?"

As soon as Wen Zhulian arrived, she acted naturally and lively like the lady of the house. She cared for each and every person, taking control of the situation.. She had always been like this, no matter what, she had to be the center of attention.

At this moment, Song Juyao and Evan walked in from outside. Song Juyao didn't pay much attention to the group that had arrived; their arrival was already known through the wristbands, so there was no need to be surprised about.

She just frowned and stared at the dirty floor that had been stepped on.

Wen Zhulian hurriedly said, "Juyao, don't mind, we will clean it up later!"

Song Juyao, however, directly squatted down and pinched her fingers to pick up the dirt on the floor, examining it closely.

Li Wenling and the others couldn't help but feel nervous when they saw her like this. "Juyao, what's wrong?"

Song Juyao's expression changed slightly, and she raised her head to look solemnly at Wen Zhulian, "How did you guys get over here?"

"Just...... just walked over ah." Wen Zhulian said as if she was frightened.

Wen Zhulian's companions immediately voiced their dissatisfaction. "If you didn't walk over, can you still fly over?"

"What a stupid question!"

"Can you just say what you have to say? What's the big deal!"

"You guys shut up!" Li Wenling roared, after experiencing what happened to Li Quan, her nerves became very sensitive, after all, she still had a son to protect, and this one child, she would definitely not let him have any more accidents, "Juyao, what's wrong?"

Song Juyao pinched the soil in her hand. "This is the clay unique to the northern region where we came from. Although it's very sticky and can be annoying when it sticks to the grooves in the anti-slip pattern on your shoe soles, it easily washes away when soaked in water. If your shoe soles have been in contact with water for an extended period, they shouldn't have been brought here. In other words, you didn't cross the river; you took a detour to get here."

"What nonsense are you talking about, didn't we just say that we just walked here? You're still analyzing it specifically to show how much you know." The young man said impatiently.

"Juyao, they didn't cross the river. What's..." Suddenly, something dawned on Li Wenling, and her expression froze.

All those who had heard Song Juyao's previous words had their expressions solidified.

The words that Song Juyao had said earlier suddenly echoed in their minds.

'The brown bear's sense of smell is seven times that of a hound, and it can pick up scents left on clothes from rubbing against tree leaves. To shake off the brown bear's tracking, you must cross the river…'

Chills ran from their feet to the tops of their heads, and the hearts of everyone who had heard Song Juyao's explanation started racing. The terror of that brown bear instantly loomed over everyone's head.

Li Wenling looked at Song Juyao, her voice trembling. "Did they... bring the bear here?"

[Oh my!!!]

[Darn it!!! Is this for real?!]

[My scalp is tingling. Did that bear follow Wen Zhulian and the others the whole way?]

[Damn, they just had some peace, and now they might be killed by Wen Zhulian and her group!]

[Zhuzhu and the others didn't know about this, and the bear might not necessarily followed them here. Why take Song Juyao's words as an imperial edict? Won't it be embarrassing if the bear doesn't come?]

"What? Bear?" Wen Zhulian was stunned.

"What do you mean we brought the bear? We didn't do anything! Don't you talk nonsense!" The others were also startled.

However, as soon as their words left their mouths, a bolt of lightning suddenly struck through the night sky, and the forest suddenly swarmed with birds that rose up and flew into the sky, and a sense of terror abruptly filled the air.

The person who had just spoken suddenly froze his expression, mouth agape, he stretched out his hand, and tremblingly pointed ahead, "There ...... seems to be ......"

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