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Kneel to Me

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Chapter 54: Second Arc [17]

"Who the hell are these people? Snarl and snap at Lü Dongbin, no good deed goes unpunished," Evans cursed.

[狗咬吕洞宾 - gǒu yǎo lǚ dòng bīn - snarl and snap at Lü Dongbin. It means wronging a kind-hearted person or mistake a good man for a bad one. Lü Dongbin was a Tang Dynasty scholar, one of the Eight Immortals,

好心没好 - hǎoxīnméihǎo - no good deed goes unpunished meaning that those who help often end up being resented by those whom they help]

Li Dada also frowned. She perceived Wen Zhulian's overly sympathetic attitude towards these companions as somewhat unwarranted and a bit excessive lacking any apparent reason. She found it inexplicable.

Song Juyao, on the other hand, seemed fine. She harvested several avocados and headed back with them, carrying the baskets.

......

Emotionally agitated, Liao Tao and Fang Xiaoyuan swore and cursed Song Juyao while comforting Wen Zhulian, who was crying like like raindrops on a pear blossom

"Zhuzhu, don't cry, now that it has come to this, consider it as seeing a person's true colors."

"Right. We thought she had at least a bit of human kindness, but turns out, she's quite petty. It's true that we didn't trust her before, and Chen Ruo also said some harsh words, but is it necessary to watch someone die without helping?"

Listening to their words, Wen Yingting couldn't help but say, "What Song Juyao said also makes sense. Two hours is indeed too long."

Judging from Chen Ruoyi's condition when they came out, it seemed that Chen Ruo's fate could only be one of the two Song Juyao mentioned. It was indeed useless for her to rush back with them. Instead, it would be better to say that their trip out this time was a futile effort. He originally disagreed with coming out to find Song Juyao, but Wen Zhulian ran out, and as her brother, he was worried about her safety, so he followed along.

They anxiously rushed along the path without bringing any water. His throat felt parched with a burning sensation, and the added burden of carrying a fire extinguisher made him increasingly irritable.

Wen Zhulian looked at Wen Yingting with red eyes, "Brother, do you think I did something wrong?"

Wen Yingting had always loved Wen Zhulian. Seeing her like this, he felt a bit distressed and couldn't say the reproachful words. He sighed, "I know you meant well... never mind, it's alright; let's go back quickly."

"Mm-hmm." Wen Zhulian agreed, seeing Wen Yingting sweating profusely, she reached out to take the fire extinguisher. "Brother, let me take it, you must be tired."

"No need."

"Brother, let us take it. You've been carrying it all the way." Liao Tao suggested.

Wen Yingting then handed over the fire extinguisher to Liao Tao, feeling much lighter.

The forest was lush, with tall trees blocking the sunlight outside, but one could feel the moisture in the air evaporating, and the wet ground began to dry up.

"Even if she's right and there's no point in rushing back anymore, but there's no need to curse us for encountering bears, right? Does she secretly hope that everyone who doesn't listen to her gets eaten by a bear?" Fang Xiaoyuan said.

"No, I believe she isn't that kind of person." Wen Zhulian hurried to say.

"Then the words she just said were fake kindness. If she was genuinely concerned about us encountering a bear, why didn't she walk with us? The more I think about it, the more I feel she's threatening us," Liao Tao said. "Implying that there is no good end if we don't listen to her."

Wen Yingting frowned, feeling that these two were too malicious in speculating about Song Juyao, and couldn't help recalling the gossip he had heard before. Originally their band, led by Pan Yue as the lead singer, rose to fame, but later Pan Yue became the most popular and highest paid, while the other members remained obscure. Eventually, he abandoned the other members, leaving on his own.

Because Pan Yue never explained, this incident caused quite a stir back then, and many people believed the narrative that Pan Yue abandoned his bandmates after becoming famous. But now looking at the narrow-mindedness of these people, he couldn't help but doubt the truth of the matter. Was it really Pan Yue who abandoned them, or was it them joining forces to drive Pan Yue away?

"I don't believe she's a prophet. Just because she says we'll encounter a bear doesn't mean we will!"

"Exactly! And even if we do, we're not afraid. We brought the fire extinguisher; bears are scared of this thing. I hope the bear shows up so we can spray it to death."

Indeed, the fire extinguisher did provide them with a sense of security. It was with this thing that Wen Yingting chased away the bear; otherwise, Chen Ruo wouldn't have gotten off so lightly with just a torn arm.

"Don't be like this la ......," Wen Zhulian's face showed that she was trying to hold back her laughter, as if she was amused by them.

Seeing her reaction, the two of them immediately put on even more exaggerated expressions, their voices getting louder, "Bear, come out! Can you hear us?"

The forest echoed with the voices of the group shouting and talking back and forth. Wen Yingting wanted to scold them, but his throat was so dry that even making a sound was uncomfortable. Then, he suddenly stopped in his tracks, his voice completely stuck in his throat.

A bear's head poked out from the bushes, looking at them.

Its thick fur was still stained with large dried bloodstains, there was no doubt whose it was. Its brown eyes were full of animalistic aggression as it stared at them.

It was so huge that its body couldn't even be hidden behind the bushes. Wild animals naturally posed a deterrent to humans, and the four people's bodies stiffened, in stunned silence.

【It really came out!!!】

【This is the first time I'm so happy to see the bear come out; so exciting!】

【Bear is an expert at dealing with idiots. Hurry and eat them up!】

【They're really idiots. They kept shouting instead of quietly leaving. They called the bear out!】

The brown bear walked out from the bushes and the four of them subconsciously stepped back. Liao Tao, who was holding a fire extinguisher, stood at the front, swallowed hard and said, "D-Don't be afraid; it's scared of this!"

Brown bears, belonging to the bear family, mostly aren't colorblind. The fire extinguisher's are red so they are highly conspicuous. This brown bear immediately recognized it as the thing that attacked it in the morning. Instead of feeling scared, it got angry. It opened its mouth and let out a roar, charging towards them.

Liao Tao immediately pressed the handle, aiming the nozzle at the charging bear. White dry ice sprayed towards the bear's face. However, unlike in the morning, the brown bear wasn't caught off guard. Instead of panicking and running away, it stood up and lunged forward, biting Liao Tao's shoulder in one swift motion.

"Ah! Help! Help!" Liao Tao screamed in pain and used the fire extinguisher to hit the bear. But this little force meant nothing to this adult male brown bear weighing over 500 kilograms.

Wen Yingting and Fang Xiaoyuan picked up tree branches from the ground, attempting to rescue Liao Tao. The brown bear didn't budge. Releasing Liao Tao's shoulder, it sank its teeth into his neck, violently shaking and tearing him apart. The fire extinguisher slipped from Liao Tao's hands, and with a gaze filled with anguish, breathed his last.

After the prey died, the brown bear left him and turned towards Fang Xiaoyuan. It pounced on Fang Xiaoyuan, knocking him to the ground as he screamed out in misery.

"Help! Ah! Zhuzhu, save me!!" In a life or death moment, humans instinctively call for help from others. Fang Xiaoyuan, who was standing close to Wen Zhulian, desperately grabbed onto the hem of her dress at the moment he was knocked down, and begged for help with a face full of snot and tears.

With the bear so close, Wen Zhulian was terrified. She forcefully pulled her skirt but couldn't free it. So, she resorted to kicking Fang Xiaoyuan's hand, finally kicking him off. Her face turned pale, and she immediately turned and ran away, unable to care about anything else.

Fang Xiaoyuan lay on the ground, staring lifelessly at Wen Zhulian's retreating figure.

Wen Yingting struck the bear's head with all his might but to no effect. Realizing their feeble attempts meant nothing against the thick-skinned bear, and trying to stop it was akin to an ant trying to shake a tree. He too immediately turned and ran.

A sound of footsteps came from behind them, Wen Yingting turned his head, his breath hitched – the bear was chasing after him!

Brown bears can run at a speed of 56 kilometers per hour, what's even more frightening is their excellent endurance. They can maintain this speed for several miles without a break, making them unmatched even against tigers.

It rapidly closed in, shrouding him in fear and despair, squeezing his heart tight. He even caught a whiff of the foul odor from the bear's mouth. It's over; everything is about to end.

"Boom!"

Something was hurled at the bear's cheek and suddenly exploded. The explosion was small but it was enough to startle and hurt the bear.

Wen Yingting fell to the ground, staring wide-eyed at the direction the object was thrown from.

He found Song Juyao and her group standing on the small hill on the side. The young girl's eyes were sharp, and she held a homemade incendiary (combustible) bottle, swinging her arm forcefully, she hurled it towards the brown bear once again.

"Boom!" The incendiary bottle smashed the bear accurately.

Startled by the two small explosions, the brown bear finally abandoned its prey and turned to flee.

Song Juyao breathed heavily; evidently, the recent situation had been touch-and-go for her too, and it took quite a bit of effort to save him.

With a close brush with death, Wen Yingting's eyes, bloodshot, fixed on Song Juyao. A gust of wind happened to blow through, causing the dense branches of the trees to sway, and sunlight streamed down from above, illuminating Song Juyao. In Wen Yingting's eyes, she seemed to radiate a dazzling glow.

Song Juyao took a few deep breaths and brought Evans and Li Dada down the slope.

"Are you alright?" Song Juyao asked.

Wen Yingting got up from the ground, shame preventing him from looking directly at Song Juyao, and shook his head.

"Where's Wen Zhulian?"

Wen Yingting froze. Suddenly the image of Wen Zhulian's frantic figure running wildly flashed in his mind. She just kept running and running, without once looking back.

......

"Ah ah ah ah!" Liao Tao woke up screaming and sat up violently, panting hard. Then he froze.

Was I dreaming?

A scoff sounded, and he turned his head sharply and saw everyone who was supposed to be "dead," including Chang Zhenzhen, Chang Youqing, Li Quan, and others.

It wasn't until a staff member handed him water and explained the situation that he understood there was no Survival Island Paradise; the island was just a ruse.

A few seconds later, Fang Xiaoyuan also woke up screaming.

Once they understood what was happening, their faces turned green and white, changing constantly. On the large screen, the live broadcast was still playing, and they could see a large number of comments from the viewers floating on the screen.

"Fools," Chang Zhenzhen sneered at them, showing a contemptuous smile. The barrage was filled with countless insults, calling them fools who deserved to die. She thought she was dumb enough, but now she realized there were even more stupid ones. Thinking about how they shouted the bear out, she couldn't help but throw her head back in laughter – what kind of brain-dead species were they? Thanks to them, no one would remember how dumb Chang Zhenzhen was.

"Zhenzhen." Chang Youqing stopped her.

However, Chang Zhenzhen had already seen through the true colors of Chang's mother's favoritism towards her son, and it brought some resentment towards Chang Youqing too. She coldly curled her lips.

Chen Ruo, who had awakened earlier than them, also had an ugly expression. They had never imagined that their every move was being taken in by netizens. But more than this, what made them difficult to accept was that they had all been played by Wen Zhulian.

They were already despicable people, and yet, they ended up being toyed with by another despicable person.

......

Wen Zhulian ran frantically all the way back to the stronghold.

The atmosphere inside the villa was somber because Chen Ruo had ultimately died from excessive bleeding, and his body had already gone cold. Despite the automatic mopping robot cleaning the floor dozens of times, it couldn't wipe away the dried blood.

People in the base saw her return alone and quickly stood up. "What happened?"

Wen Zhulian collapsed on the ground, tears streaming down her face. She could only shake her head, unable to speak.

"Zhuzhu, speak, what happened? Where is your brother?!" Lai Xin asked anxiously.

Only after a while did Wen Zhulian finally speak out, "We met a bear ...... Juyao didn't want to come back with us."

"What?" Li Xin's face turned pale, "Where is your brother?!"

Wen Zhulian cried and shook her head, "Brother, he... he might..."

"What's going on? Explain quickly!" Wen Guohua's eyes were red with anxiety.

"We found Juyao. We told her that Chen Ruo needed help. She was picking avocados, saying it's useless for her to come back with us. We argued for a while, couldn't persuade her, and had to come back. On the way back, we encountered a bear. Liao Tao and Xiaoyuan were both bitten to death by the bear. Brother...he…"

Hearing the words of Wen Zhulian, the whole room was in an uproar. Everyone was furious. What the hell? Song Juyao refused to come back because of avocados? For avocados?!

Li Xin and Wen Guohua felt as if their heads had been hit by a heavy blow, leaving them dizzy and disoriented. Li Xin sat on the ground, almost fainting.

Wen Zhulian did not know she was in a virtual world within a virtual world, and was unaware that her every move was witnessed by the people in the virtual world.

【Wen Zhulian's character has collapsed completely. Releasing Chang Zhenzhen's hand earlier was a conditioned reflex, but kicking away Fang Xiaoyuan's hand can't be explained as reflex, right?】

【So disgusting. Wen Zhulian is so good at pretending. I feel nauseous. Her previous persona was being a little angel, but look at her now. [vomit]】

【Thank you, this program lets me see the true face of this person. I'm unstanning.】

【The white lotus is off the charts in the barrage. With such a big bear in front of her, what could she do? Just stand there and wait to die?】

【Fang Xiaoyuan has a problem. He wanted to drag Wen Zhulian to die with him. What could a little girl like her do?】

【Forget Fang Xiaoyuan's matter. Is she not being a white lotus now? She pushed all the blame on Song Juyao in just a few words.】

【Liao Tao and those idiots died because of her, right?. They all were manipulated by her. It was her who proposed finding Song Juyao, and then ran out empty-handed, so why does it sound like it's all Song Juyao's fault coming from her mouth?】

【Those pig dung fans who are still speaking up for Wen Zhulian at this point are truly pig shit. They are really well white-washed and grinded before being boiled thoroughly. As expected of her followers, they are like their masters, supporting whatever their master does.】

"Impossible, you're talking nonsense. Juyao is not that kind of person!" Li Wenling immediately refuted, refusing to believe that Song Juyao would do something absurd like prioritizing avocados over helping a dying person. It sounded so ridiculous, definitely not something Song Juyao would do.

"Song Juyao is back!" Someone shouted.

Wen Guohua and Li Xin immediately stood up and rushed outside. They were highly agitated, eyes bloodshot and their minds were no longer able to think clearly. They ran up to Song Juyao, and Wen Guohua immediately raised his hand, slapping her across the face.

Jiang Baiqi who was in front of the screen stood up suddenly.

"Pa!" Evans grabbed the hand, his eyes seething with murderous anger, "What are you doing?"

"Dad, mom!" Wen Yingting hurriedly called out, quickly walking over from behind.

Just as Wen Guohua and Li Xin were about to erupt in anger, they were stunned to see their son safe and sound. "Son! You... you're okay?"

"I'm fine. Juyao saved me," Wen Yingting said.

The embarrassment suddenly enveloped the couple, Wen Guohua's face flushed red, but he just couldn't get the words of apology out.

Li Xin: "Then what did your sister say about you..."

"Brother? Brother you are fine! That's great!" Wen Zhulian rushed out at once and hugged Wen Yingting's waist, crying breathlessly

Wen Yingting's expression was complicated. In the past, seeing her like this, he would have given her anything she wanted. However, at this moment, he couldn't stop recalling the image of her running away.

Yet, emotions are complex. He felt his chest dampening and couldn't help but think of the situation at that time, she was scared so was only concerned about herself. Perhaps it was understandable - she had just come of age and was still a child...

Thus, his expression was complicated. He dared not look at Song Juyao and told Li Xin, "I let Zhuzhu run first. She must have misunderstood when she saw that I didn't catch up."

"Song Juyao, did you really disregard Chen Ruo's life for avocados?" Others ran out and upon seeing there were indeed avocados in their back baskets, immediately questioned her.

Song Juyao ignored them, leading her people around them and left. Wen Yingting hurriedly stopped those who wanted to settle scores, and explained for Song Juyao, fearing they might vent their anger on her. He even told how they themselves didn't listen to Song Juyao and insisted on blabbering endlessly along the way. He recounted all the foolish things they had done that attracted the bear.

Song Juyao was not wrong - Chen Ruo had already died by the time they found Song Juyao. Whether she rushed back or not wouldn't have made any difference.

After hearing Wen Yingting's explanation, the emotions of the others gradually calmed down. However, the thought of two more lives lost to the bear collapsed them.

"It's over, sooner or later we'll be eaten by that bear too."

"Wuuuuu...what should we do..."

Wen Yingting said, "Let's follow Song Juyao's command and work together to kill that bear. Going out to sea is impossible. On the island, we can still find water and food. Once we're out at sea, we'll be completely passive. I think Fanxing Group won't let us leave so easily. For now, surviving from the bear is the most important."

Seeing Wen Yingting speak up for Song Juyao like this, Wen Zhulian gritted her teeth in hatred. Damn it, he has already been won over by Song Juyao, and his tone is filled with so much trust and belief as if Song Juyao can definitely kill the bear. Originally, she could have used this incident to completely ruin Song Juyao's credibility among them, but Wen Yingting's few words resolved everything...

But she dared not say anything now, fearing that Wen Yingting would tell his parents about her leaving him behind and running away.

After this morning's incident, they had long wanted to rely on Song Juyao, but there hadn't been a ladder for them to go down. Now when Wen Yingting said it, everyone found a ladder to come down.

Wen Yingting, as the acting spokesperson, went to find Song Juyao.

Song Juyao was outside, starting a fire. When she heard the words, she turned to look at the group of people staring at her through the floor-to-ceiling windows, nodded calmly, and said, "Sure. But since you want me to be the leader at this moment, I hope everyone can understand, follow orders, do their jobs well, without interfering with others."

"Good." Wen Yingting said, turning his head to convey.

No one objected. The bloody lesson finally made them realize the consequences of not listening to experts.

They initially thought Song Juyao would give them a hard time, considering their previous treatment of her. However, Song Juyao seemed to completely ignore their past attitude. The assigned tasks were all reasonable, taking into account each person's physical condition. Even for Wen Zhulian, she only asked her to collect seashells, and didn't deliberately assign her to the volcanic plain to dig up sulfur or the bat cave to shovel shit.

For a while everyone's emotions were complicated.

"I feel like Song Juyao might not be the way we thought of her ah."

"Right ah…maybe we misunderstood her?"

With more people, the work became more manageable. They divided into groups, collecting seashells, digging soil, shoveling bat guano, and mining sulfur. Song Juyao extracted sugar from the wine in the wine cellar, and extracted a large amount of nitric acid from seashells, nitrate soil, bat droppings, and wood ash...

Everyone in the stronghold villa was busy running around.

For several nights, the brown bear appeared outside the villa, but because there were several fires burning outside from morning to night, coupled with the intimidation of the combustive bottles made from wine bottles, the bear did not dare to act rashly.

Finally, the explosives were ready.

And on this day, the bear had also become too hungry to endure any longer.

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