48 Hours a Day - chapter-20
Zhang Heng had been on the island for more than a year now, but this was the first game item he had come across.
But other than the voice in his voice, there was nothing else.
He did not know what this thing was used for, or what it does. It seemed as if the voice did not intend to inform him either. After it had notified him about the item, it just disappeared.
Zhang Heng surveyed the rabbit’s foot but found nothing special about it. He would just have to keep it in his waist pouch for the moment.
After Bell looked at the wound on Zhang Heng’s shoulder, he decided not to take any risk and sterilized the wound with saline. “The wound is too deep. The claws of beasts that live in the wild like this are normally full of germs. There’s a chance it could be infected.”
Zhang Heng understood the horrible consequence of infection. In the city, this would have just been a matter of an antibiotic injection. But on this barren island, the chances of surviving an infection was next to none. It was because of the injury on his leg that Ed contracted high fever and passed away. Even though his death was premeditated by the game; that would mean the game designers could be trying to inform the players of such dangers.
But there are some things, that even if made known in advance, could never be helped.
What should he do in that situation?
Being able to fight back and kill his attacker had already exceeded his limit. It was impossible to think that he could have come out unscathed.
The explorer comforted, “It may not be infected, for sure. Maybe nothing would happen.”
Zhang Heng smiled bitterly. He could only hope for that right now.
After they had rested for a day, since they had already made it here to the center of the island, Zhang Heng suggested that they go straight to the other side of the island. Ed did not express any opinion against the idea, of course.
So, they spent another two days or so to pass through the forest.
When they were finally greeted by the sight of the beach and the ocean, Zhang Heng was rewarded for his achievement ‘toured island’ and had another 3 points added to his game points.
But this was none of his concern right now.
There were two things that were giving him a headache right now, was the possibility of being infected and that time for Bell’s death was approaching.
The first matter was purely dependent on luck—there was nothing he could do; the second matter was having stayed together for such a long time, and that Bell saved him from the becoming python food, Zhang Heng regarded him as a friend. In the end, he decided to give his friends a heads up.
Of course, he would not mention that they were in a game and that Bell was a non-player character (NPC) with a buff that set him up to die after nineteen days. The discussion of whether this would yield some unpredictable reaction aside, Bell would have found this explanation difficult to believe. Chances are, he would conclude that because Zhang Heng had been alone on the island for too long, his mind was in a state of confusion.
Which was why Zhang Heng only told Bell to be extra careful tomorrow.
The explorer did seem to mind it too much. After all, the both of them did just massacre a jaguar each. Now that they had left the forest, they had moved past the most dangerous portion of the journey. Whatever happened next could not possibly be as severe as this.
Zhang Heng thought that it made sense, but after what happened with the guy in shorts and the poisoned mushroom, Zhang Heng knew that anything could happen tomorrow. He persuaded Bell not to hunt the next morning and kept his eye the explorer for the entire span of twenty-four hours.
Zhang Heng also wanted to see to what extent this death could be done and if it could be changed.
Nothing happened in the morning.
Zhang Heng trailed behind the explorer the entire day like an idiot, giving his friend the chills. In the afternoon, Bell suggested that they go outside the forest to pick some wild vegetables and mushrooms to make a seafood soup but was sternly refused by Zhang Heng.
What kind of joke is it? Were they seriously using the same trick again?
Zhang Heng was thoroughly traumatized by mushrooms. Besides, even if he really wanted to eat them, today was not going to be the day.
Unable to do anything, Bell had wanted to go for a walk by the beach but seeing how resolute Zhang Heng was, he decided not to ask for fear that it would only give trouble to his friend.
In the end, they settled on walking toward the direction they lived in quietly.
Throughout the entire journey, neither one of them spoke. Bell was not a man with a temper but he did feel that Zhang Heng was making a big deal out of nothing.
Then as they were passing by a shallow beach, the cliff on his right suddenly came crashing down without warning. Caught off guard, Bell watched in horror as the falling rocks were coming down at his head. But right at that very moment, someone pounced on him and they rolled away together sideways.
The crumbled rocks smashed against the coral reef next to them, giving the explorer the shock of his life.
After that, he saw blood in the sea and a motionless Zhang Heng lying face down. “Zhang, are you alright?”
Zhang Heng replied only after a while, “… I’m fine, Bell. I just jumped at you too forcefully—my nose is bleeding from the impact.” Zhang Heng sat up, hands cradling his nose.
The situation was fraught with danger but it was no match for the vigilant Zhang Heng. When he heard the rumbling noise above him, his first instinct was to throw himself at Bell, and managed to get his friend out of harm’s way.
Upon remembering the warning yesterday, the explorer exclaimed, “My god. Are you an oracle? You could foresee the future! This is incredible!”
“Don’t celebrate so soon. It’s not over yet.” Zhang Heng reminded him.
The truth was, he did not know when this was going to end—when today was over? Or until Bell dies? If it was the latter then no gods nor ghosts could save the explorer.
Zhang Heng could not guarantee for sure that he would be as keen-eyed as he was today for the next hundred days.
But fortunately, this incident earned him some credibility, and Bell was now taking his ‘prophecy’ much more seriously.
To be safe, neither one of them slept a wink the entire night. When the sun peeked out from the horizon, Zhang Heng was lost for words. He did not think he would be able to help the explorer live past twenty days.
Bell yawned. “So? Am I safe?”
“I don’t know.” Zhang Heng shook his head. “But you can move about freely.”
Having passed the most dangerous nineteenth day, who knows what would happen in the future. But like the wound on Zhang Heng’s shoulder, he would only know only after the infection set in.
However, whether it was Bell or Zhang Heng, their luck seemed to be pretty good. Neither one of them encountered any life-threatening danger, and a scab had already begun to form on Zhang Heng’s wound. There had been no swelling or puss.
A week later, the pair finally arrived at the hut. Seeing Mickey Mouse sunbathing in the garden brought a feeling of familiarity to Zhang Heng. He even thought that the bird did not look as ugly as before.
This little trip, although short, was filled with danger. Fortunately, the payoff was also good.
Not only did Zhang Heng earn another 13 points, he also took home a prop that he did not know how to use; most importantly, though, was that Bell was alive and breathing.
This meant that for the rest of the 100 days, Zhang Heng was finally not alone on this island.
While he was clearing out a house to be turned into the explorer’s room, Zhang Heng asked, “Bell, can you be my teacher?”
“Sure, what would you like to learn?”
“English. I have a grade six exam in December.”
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