After the voice carried over from inside the office, index 99 immediately shut up and made zipping-mouth gestures with index 77.
There was no need to go into how revered this man was; no one dared to try anything in front of him.
Among all trainees, only Zong Jiu was willing to face him head-on, and it was a good thing that the students in Class 9 were tight-lipped, or god knows what his fanatical admirers would have done to Zong Jiu.
Surprisingly, before Zong Jiu could reach out to push the door, the dark door made a soft sound, pulled open by someone behind it.
He lifted his head, then found that besides No. 1, there were a few trainees from Class 1 inside the office.
And the one who opened the door for them was incidentally a member of the Night Clan.
No. 2 Van Zhuo was standing in front of the office desk with an austere expression.
Zong Jiu’s brows lifted.
Seeing someone enter, the grey-haired half-vampire didn’t say anything more. He maintained his usual cold and harsh voice, nodding minutely in greeting at the Devil standing in front of the bookshelf. "Sincere thanks for your guidance."
With that, he turned around and led those few half-vampires out of the office.
When passing by, the Night Clan leader silently locked eyes with the white-haired young man.
A hint of understanding flashed across the latter’s pale eyes.
Now that Zong Jiu was allied with Van Zhuo, the two of them had been passing messages to each other when revising late in the night under the guise of exchanging teaching materials.
It was for this reason that Zong Jiu had already known the reason for the other party’s appearance in the Devil’s office.
In terms of experience, no one in the instance could hold a candle to Van Zhuo, who had survived two years in the infinite loop and presently occupied a high position of status.
Even in the infinite loop, there were rules in many instances, such as role-playing type instances.
No. 2 analysed that while the Devil had received the highest tier roleplaying identity card, NPCs were also segregated into support NPCs and malicious NPCs.
In general, malicious NPCs were seldom handed to trainees to roleplay. But recalling the true big boss of the Famine Mountain Village instance, Grandma Yin, Zong Jiu didn’t rule out this possibility.
However, Mr. Nan’s resume was very clearly written. The entirety of First High School’s teaching faculty knew that he was a famous teacher externally hired based on a hefty rate, and had once taught at another prestigious high school with countless students under his tutelage who stood a head above their peers. It was superfluous to bring up his impressive track record.
However, trainees had also learned from the clues left behind by previous students that First High School had always been this insidious even before Mr. Nan’s arrival.
To sum it up, it was highly likely that No. 1 was roleplaying a support NPC.
After all, all the other teachers and parents were faceless. Even if it was just a roleplay, the ‘NPC’ would have to conform to the basic law. Since the Devil hadn’t been turned into a faceless person, then it was probable that the NPC he was roleplaying possessed some kind of clue.
When trainees unafraid of death approached him for help and received the response not to look for him unless they found critical clues, this more or less drove this point in for Van Zhuo.
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The door closed again, and only the three trainees from Class 9 remained in the office with Mr. Nan, who was standing sanctimoniously before the bookshelf.
The man was holding a book in one hand, and his untied black hair hung down the side of his face, spilling onto the pages. Gold could be glimpsed through the gaps, perhaps light reflecting on the frame of his glasses, or his pupils of dark golden.
He didn’t lift his head. "What is it?"
Index 77 and index 99 didn’t even dare to breathe too loudly. They cautiously greeted Mr. Nan, before explaining in a quaking voice.
"Mr. Nan, w-we’re here to register for the basketball competition."
"Oh?" No. 1 chuckled once, his thoughts unreadable. "Can you play basketball?"
Index 99 was much more confident when it came to this. "We can!"
The Devil’s gaze swept across the two of them indifferently, then fixed on the white-haired young man.
Ever since entering this room, apart from when he made eye contact with No. 2, Zong Jiu had his hands folded, looking cold and unapproachable.
The man averted his gaze, absently flipping a page of the book in his hand.
It was also in this split second that Zong Jiu’s sharp eyes caught sight of the German logo of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason imprinted on the cover. An upside-down copy of The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer could also be glimpsed behind that.
Shocker. A madman was studying philosophy—let alone that this madman would actually read in the first place.
Mr. Nan had said in class that morning that this basketball competition would be filmed and as such, required the participants to meet a certain calibre visually. As such, at this time, the other two trainees were holding their breaths and standing still with their backs upright, trying to look their best.
The Devil said breezily, "The two of you are qualified."
"As for you, stay behind."
Who this ‘you’ referred to was tacitly understood by everyone in the office.
Index 99 and index 77 immediately whipped their heads around, looking at Zong Jiu with worry and shock, without a single intention to move their feet.
Everyone in Class 9 was aware that Mr. Nan and their class monitor seemed to be at odds with each other. Now, even selecting a participant for a basketball competition had become troublesome. Their Jiu-ge clearly had the qualifications. Let alone those in First High School, no one in all of the trainee dormitories could match him when it came to appearances.
It was only after Zong Jiu shook his head at them that these two mischief makers of his class then departed, constantly looking back over their shoulders with fear in their eyes that their class monitor would be viciously torn apart by the homeroom teacher.
Once again, silence was restored to the cramped room.
The heavy book was shut and the black-haired Devil turned his head, an indecipherable smile on his face.
Zong Jiu was even ready for the other party to instruct him to show off his hoop-shooting posture, or strip his clothes on the spot and use the teacher’s pointer to continue the contents of his Biology lesson, using sophistry to discourage him from registering. Zong Jiu couldn’t be any more familiar with this play.
And so white edges appeared between the fingers of his folded arms, ready to strike No. 1 whilst the other was unprepared.
But he didn’t expect that No. 1 would actually lazily raise his hand, the fabric of his gloves starkly contrasting his black hair behind.
"Before you make your decision, I will not take drastic action but quietly wait for your answer in the most peaceful manner possible."
Zong Jiu, "…?"
So was their last altercation in the stairwell a figment of his imagination? Was the one who had seized his hands and pinned him to the iron door a man possessed?
However, the underlying meaning behind these words from the Devil was well worth scrutiny.
On the surface, it seemed generous. But in actuality, it was a veiled threat.
The Magician didn’t buy this routine. He scoffed. "And if I don’t agree?"
"You don’t have to be so sure. There’s still time. I prefer to save surprises for the last minute." No. 1 shrugged.
"More than that…"
The man deliberately dragged his words, leaving just enough suspense.
In the dimly lit office, his dark golden eyes almost blended with the icy golden rims of his glasses.
"How about this… why don’t we play a game?"
Play a game?
Zong Jiu suspiciously eyed the Devil. Unfortunately, they were both experts at concealing their emotions. If they didn’t wish to let others tell, then anything discernible from their expressions would merely be what they wished to show.
Take No. 1 in the present, for example. He was like a child with a new toy; his eyes sparkled with mischief, carrying cruel yet childlike innocence.
Yes he was out of his mind, but at times he also was very pure. The basis behind all that he did was in pursuit of fun and delight.
Of course, this didn’t make him any less dangerous.
"That’s fine by me."
For the first time, the Magician smiled ever so slightly. "What game? What can I get out of it if I win?"
"You and that half-vampire are spot-on with your guesses. Yes, I do hold a clue that you want."
The man’s hand slowly traced the thick spine of the book with invisible pressure. "If you can give me an unexpected surprise, I’ll directly hand the clue over. How about that?"
Zong Jiu thought back to the surprises that he had given the other in the past, and contemplation flashed across his visage.
The first surprise was at Las Vegas, where Zong Jiu had cheated by cashing in his knowledge of the Devil’s hidden identity with the system.
The second surprise was in the Famine Mountain Village, where Zong Jiu had directly ripped off the strings that the Devil used to control his puppets.
The third surprise, he’d kicked Grandma Yin down the River of Oblivion.
The fourth surprise was when he incinerated the coffin.
…Apparently, what constituted a surprise to the Devil was a scare to a normal person.
Refining it further, it was as simple as ferreting out who had become puppets under No. 1’s control or doing him a bad turn. Any of which could be classified as a surprise.
Coming to this, what could Zong Jiu not understand?
His special prop could effortlessly detect No. 1’s manipulations, and a small tug of his hand could forcibly release this control.
If he were the Devil, he’d definitely first depose himself, or at least figure out the conditions of his opponent’s abilities.
However… even if this was a blatant probe, he still took the leap.
The look in the Magician’s eyes changed. He replied with alacrity, "Sure. I do have an even better idea, though."
"Oh?" The Devil walked to his office desk and took a seat, interlacing his fingers. "Tell me."
Zong Jiu did the mental calculations, speaking slowly, "How about changing the reward from the clue to having an NPC assist once?"
The white-haired young man narrowed his eyes, his eyes darkening with a rippling undercurrent, like a crafty fox.
A request for an NPC’s assistance; wasn’t that blatantly getting No. 1 to cheat for him?
The man’s interest deepened ever more. "Okay."
At the difficulty level of this instance, even if they went without the clue and got an NPC to assist them once, it wouldn’t necessarily be easy to break through.
Besides, No. 1 was also rather curious about what the Magician wanted to request from this assistance.
"However, what if you don’t give me the surprise I want before the deadline of the final exam?"
Zong Jiu smiled. "Then, naturally… I’ll be at your disposal."