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God's Descent

God’s Descent: Chapter 14

Nightingale and The Rose

“Wow, a thousand Star Coins! The reward for this little quest is quite generous,” Huang Jinghui exclaimed with excitement upon seeing the reward.

You Rongyi asked, “Are Star Coins very useful?”

“They are indeed!” Huang Jinghui responded without hesitation. “Star Coins are very useful in Gods’ Descent. Many things require Star Coins, like buying low-level materials, basic items, some basic potions from the store, and even bribing NPCs sometimes.”

“Similar to real-world currency,” You Rongyi mused. “So, they hold significant value.”

You Rongyi then asked Huang Jinghui, “You’ve been playing Gods’ Descent for a while now. You must have accumulated quite a few Star Coins, right?”

Huang Jinghui’s excited expression froze.

“Haha, yeah, I’ve saved up a bit,” Huang Jinghui awkwardly chuckled a couple of times. Finally, under You Rongyi’s inquiring gaze, he reluctantly opened the system wallet to show You Rongyi. A large red line of text was displayed:

[Player Star Coin balance is less than a thousand, asset level evaluation: poverty]
[Please continue to work hard and strive to earn more, escaping poverty!]

You Rongyi silently stared at the bright red word “poverty” after the asset evaluation.

“I mean, it’s not entirely my fault!” Feeling the weight of You Rongyi’s wordless gaze, Huang Jinghui felt a bit embarrassed. “For ordinary players like me, earning Star Coins in Gods’ Descent is quite difficult. The reward for completing a low-level dungeon main quest is only a few thousand, and the materials and items needed for leveling up are expensive. It’s hard to accumulate Star Coins.”

“Except for those top-tier players in large guilds, those guys are basically Star Coin farming machines. Clearing a Grade A dungeon in its entirety rewards them over a hundred thousand Star Coins. They have significant savings,” Huang Jinghui explained. “Most players, like me, don’t have much balance; we spend Star Coins as we go, using them up for each dungeon.”

“I understand,” You Rongyi nodded calmly. “It’s similar to the real-world situation I’ve learned about. Normal people struggle to earn a living, and their salaries are only a fraction of what the elite earn. They can only manage to afford the essentials for survival.”

Huang Jinghui was relatively composed initially, but with You Rongyi’s explanation, his defenses were suddenly shattered.

Quickly regaining his composure, Huang Jinghui changed the topic, “Let’s find out where this one of the scattered relics, the Nightingale Opera House, is.”

You Rongyi agreed, “Sure.”

Following the path from Dylan’s house, You Rongyi found an old signpost for Nightingale Kingdom not far away.

The signpost appeared quite worn, half-buried in the snow. If You Rongyi hadn’t noticed it keenly, Huang Jinghui might have stepped over it.

“Nightingale Opera House, 3 miles away,” Huang Jinghui brushed off the snow from the signpost and made a quick comparison. “We should head in this direction.”

Following Huang Jinghui’s direction, You Rongyi looked over. There was a rugged path leading to the village of Nightingale Kingdom, buried under a thick layer of snow. It seemed like it hadn’t been traveled in a long time.

Walking along this path, they suddenly reached a magnificent building deep within the snowy woods.

This building was incredibly tall and adorned with various exquisite statues. At its highest point was a gilded nightingale statue, shimmering in the sunlight.

However, the entire building was covered in rust, and the once-grand arched entrance had long tilted. The colorful stained glass on the entrance lay shattered on the ground, and the golden nightingale statue was corroded, presenting a dismal and eerie sight.

[System Prompt: Congratulations to the player for finding one of the scattered relics of the Nightingale Kingdom (Nightingale Opera House)]
[Please search for the withered Nightingale Blood Roses in the opera house]

Huang Jinghui gazed at this abruptly conspicuous and eerie structure, cautiously positioning himself in front of You Rongyi. “These kinds of places usually have monsters. Stick close to me.”

“Okay.”

The two entered the opera house, one after the other.

It was a rather spacious opera house, showing the same decay and decadence inside and out. The main audience hall spanned an entire level, with roughly thousands of seats. In front of the audience hall was an enormous oval stage, draped with deep red velvet curtains on either side.

“Whoa!” Huang Jinghui exclaimed in shock upon entering. “It’s so huge!”

You Rongyi looked at the screen introduction at the entrance of the audience section, where a faded poster was hung:

[Nightingale Night – The grandest singing competition in the Nightingale Kingdom! The victor will be granted the title of Golden Nightingale, sing before the king, and be rewarded countless prizes!] [Tonight, the champions of this year’s Nightingale Night Singing Competition, a pair of exceptionally melodious sisters, will present the piece “Song of Flowers and Birds” to everyone.]

On the worn-out announcement board, elegant font penned the lyrics:

[Once, there were twin sisters from the depths of Snow Island] [They possessed chestnut hair and emerald eyes, and the village youths were enamored with their countenances] [Their singing voices were enchanting; passing nightingales would linger and never depart, harmonizing together] [The younger sister is shy and graceful like a branch’s blossom] [The elder sister is beautiful and dignified like a caged bird] [Today, they stand before the king, giving their all to sing for the great ruler of the Nightingale Kingdom] [Ah~ Ah~ This is the song of flowers and birds, the realm of flowers and birds~] [So pure, so bright!]

At the end of the announcement board, a pair of names were written: Performers of “Song of Flowers and Birds”: Pamel Isabelle (elder sister), Celine Isabelle (younger sister).

“What are you looking at?” Huang Jinghui curiously leaned over. “Nightingale Night, what’s that?”

“Two hundred years ago, when the Nightingale Kingdom still existed, it was an annual opera competition,” You Rongyi’s tone remained calm. “Based on the lyrics and the final rewards mentioned, it seems to have been a type of opera competition created to please the ruler of that time. The victor would be granted the prestigious title of ‘Golden Nightingale.'”

“And these sisters, Pamel Isabelle and Celine Isabelle, if I’m not mistaken…”

You Rongyi paused and lowered his eyelids, his finger gently sliding over the announcement board as if touching and searching for something. Then, he continued, “Indeed…”

You Rongyi murmured softly, “These sisters were the victors of the final Nightingale Night singing competition.”

As You Rongyi’s words fell, the system panel shook suddenly and popped up:

[System Prompt: Player obtains crucial background information of the instance – the last pair of ‘Golden Nightingales’ in the Nightingale Kingdom] [Instance background (Nightingale Kingdom History) completion: 24%]

“?!?” Huang Jinghui was utterly shocked.
Is this magic?! Just with a casual comment and a touch, the puzzle completion percentage increased by eight percent!

Seeing You Rongyi about to leave for exploring elsewhere with the expression as if he had just stated a well-known axiom, Huang Jinghui had to muster the courage to stop him.

With an imploring tone, Huang Jinghui asked, “How did you deduce that these sisters were the winners of the last competition?”

You Rongyi cast a sidelong glance at him. “Used my eyes.”

“…” Blind Little Huang clasped his hands, humbly beseeching, “Teacher You, I don’t have eyes, please explain.”

“The announcement board.” You Rongyi finally deigned to speak. “Touch the announcement board.”

Puzzled, Huang Jinghui reached out and touched the unevenly pasted edges of the poster on the announcement board. “This is…”

“It’s the previous announcement paper. The cleaning staff of this opera house has a habit of not tearing off the old announcement paper but instead pasting new ones every year.”

You Rongyi extended two fingers, pinched the edge of the announcement paper, and slightly tore it open. “If you tear it open, you can see the previous posters of the Golden Nightingale performances from over a decade ago. So, it’s safe to assume that the Golden Nightingales perform in this opera house every year.”

“Did you notice?” You Rongyi pointed to the last poster of “Song of Flowers and Birds.” “But after the performance of the Isabelle sisters, there are no new posters for the Golden Nightingales.”

“This indicates that this was likely the final Golden Nightingale performance. After this pair of sisters, this opera house never held another Nightingale Night performance.”

Unable to resist, Huang Jinghui inquired, “Why did they stop holding it?”

“Not sure.” After a long contemplation, You Rongyi answered, “Based on the information we’ve gathered, it might be related to the fall of the Nightingale Kingdom.”

“The kingdom fell?” Huang Jinghui was puzzled. “But if it fell, I just checked inside the opera house. Although the place is rundown, the audience seats and the performance stage are quite well-preserved, with no signs of damage.”

“The Nightingale Kingdom has fallen, so why is this opera house so well-preserved?”

“Not just well-preserved,” You Rongyi countered, “take a careful look at the entire opera house. Do you notice anything unusual?”

Carefully and perplexedly, Huang Jinghui looked over the opera house again – the marble stage hall, the heavy curtains on either side, and the audience seats beside You Rongyi, covered in thick red velvet.

“It’s just a well-preserved opera house…” Huang Jinghui inquired with confusion. “What’s wrong?”

You Rongyi slowly turned his head, his hand brushing against the backrest of an audience seat, displaying his palm to Huang Jinghui.

Due to his extended stay in the hospital without sunlight, You Rongyi’s palm was pale, with distinct palm lines and veins visible. Beneath his translucent skin, faint blue veins could be seen.

This hand rested quietly in front of Huang Jinghui.

In an instant, Huang Jinghui’s attention wavered, and he stumbled while extending his hand. “Teacher You, are you trying to, trying to shake hands with me?”

“…I’m not asking you to shake hands.” You Rongyi remained silent for a moment. “I want you to see if there’s any dust on my hand.”

Huang Jinghui awkwardly refocused, quickly responding, “No dust!”

“You’re right, this opera house is indeed well-preserved.” You Rongyi lifted his eyelids to look directly at Huang Jinghui. “But who has been preserving it?”

Huang Jinghui’s expression froze.

“There isn’t a speck of dust on these seats. However, this opera house is situated deep in the woods. Dust would accumulate without regular cleaning.”

You Rongyi’s tone turned chillingly clear. “Yet when we arrived, there wasn’t a single footprint on the path leading to the opera house, nor in the snow around it. This indicates that no one has come here recently to maintain the opera house.”

“Now, guess,” You Rongyi’s gaze lifted slowly, “what entity has been maintaining this opera house from two hundred years ago?”

Before You Rongyi’s words even finished, a crisp “click” sound resonated from behind him, a noise resembling the activation of a mechanism.

“Bang!”

The door behind them, which was originally inclined and decayed, abruptly closed shut. The dark red curtains on the marble stage were lowered, closing in from both sides. From an unknown source, the elegant sound of instruments began to play, creating a hauntingly soothing melody.

“Snap!”

A spotlight directly above the center of the hall suddenly lit up, focusing on the center where the curtains converged.

The light was piercingly penetrative, cutting through the fabric of the curtains. Through the curtains, one could clearly see a slender female figure suddenly appearing in the previously empty center of the stage.

Her neck was extraordinarily elongated, draped in an incredibly thick outer robe, with only her head protruding from its folds.

The shadow of the woman’s figure was hunched over, leaning toward the microphone in front of her. A gentle, melodious chant emanated from behind the curtains, “Ah~”

The voice resembled the song of a nightingale, yet also the soft weeping of a woman. It was eerie and uncanny, part human, part avian. Accompanying her melody, the curtains on both sides of the stage gradually drew apart.

At the moment this sound echoed out, the system panels of You Rongyi and Huang Jinghui began to vibrate and scream as if gone mad:

[System Warning: Player triggers monster (Golden Nightingale)] [Monster Rating: B-Rank] [Monster Level: Level 60] [Player team’s talent level and skill level are too low for direct confrontation. It is recommended to escape promptly!]
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