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Cataclysm Card Emperor :- Chapter 19 [Ace Gray Joker]

Chapter 19

  She had never had such an exhilarating experience.

  At this moment, she seemed to see a clown walking on a tightrope in her eyes. Not only was he unafraid, but he also grinned at the Grim Reaper in the abyss, full of mockery.

  This guy teased the Grim Reaper!

  Crazy.

  No matter how calm she usually was, she couldn’t suppress her excitement and curiosity at this moment. She asked rapidly, “You, you, you knew this gun had a problem?”

  She had watched two people die by this gun with her own eyes, yet the one in their cage had a problem?

  Ji Xun shook his head with a smile, denying this thought, “No. The gun has no problem.”

  Chu Jiu also thought it wasn’t the gun’s problem, “Then why could you fire six shots?”

  ”The game’s rule is that you can only fire one shot at others, but it doesn’t say you can only fire one shot at yourself.”

  Ji Xun’s mouth curved slightly, as if still immersed in the thrill of the Russian roulette game.

  ”Besides, I said before, the factors affecting the levels are more than just the spatial rules themselves.”

  As he spoke, he glanced meaningfully at the iron spikes overhead.

  Time had passed, but the spikes hadn’t fallen.

  This meant that they had cleared the level.

  Both of them cleared it alive.

  He cleared it in a way that the contestants in the other two cages didn’t choose.

  Looking at Chu Jiu’s inquisitive eyes, Ji Xun turned his gaze to the stunned mechanical clown and asked with deep meaning, “Right, Mr. Clown?”

  But the clown didn’t respond, just stared quietly, though the smile on its face seemed to grow increasingly grotesque.

  At this moment, Chu Jiu was filled with countless questions, wanting to know what had happened.

  Having a good impression of his teammate, Ji Xun didn’t hesitate to explain.

  Now that they had cleared the level, he had understood everything.

  He spoke eloquently, “If it were simply a game of Russian roulette, how boring would that be? It would show that the layout designer had no skill. Such a delicate layout couldn’t have such an ordinary ending.”

  Chu Jiu agreed while listening.

  This hyperspace was the most sophisticated she had ever experienced.

  If the last level was just about killing to get out, it would lower its grade, completely undeserving of the previous brilliance.

  This was something she had heard him say before.

  But how did he know the problem with the gun?

  Ji Xun smiled mysteriously, slowly revealing the truth, “Remember that phrase, ‘When you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you’? That was actually a clear enough hint. When you gaze into human evil, evil will in turn gaze into your heart, revealing your true self.”

  Chu Jiu suddenly realized, “You mean that card?”

  Only now did she understand. They had killed the “Shadow Demon” earlier and obtained a card.

  They had speculated it was the clue for the last level.

  Now it was being used!

  Wait, no, it hadn’t been used!

  Those two cryptic phrases, what did they have to do with clearing the level?

  This guy had fired six shots at his own head!

  He must have discovered something else to dare bet like that.

  Ji Xun explained, “When we entered the mirror house, I had a general guess. So, seeing the layout of the iron cage, I guessed more. After hearing the roulette game rules, I completely grasped the layout designer’s intention.”

  Speaking, he smiled brightly, eyes full of fervor, “So in this final level, the real test was never about Russian roulette luck. No test is more profound than a test of human nature.”

  Chu Jiu: Speechless.

  She had heard all the words but didn’t grasp the meaning.

  She stayed silent, not wanting to appear dumb.

  After a moment, Ji Xun continued, “The essence of hyperspace is to pass tests and earn rewards. The purpose of levels is to filter out those with specific traits favored by the designer to pass and receive the ultimate reward. From the earlier ‘Wall Breaker’, ‘Witch’, ‘Gambler’, ‘Shadow Demon’, to now the clown game, you’ll find that those who pass must possess these traits: desire restraint, courage, wisdom, firm beliefs, and perhaps kindness. This space is unique in that it also tests special traits like a gambler’s mindset, cunning, madness, and obsession. Only adventurers who meet all these traits receive ultimate recognition.”

  He paused, then continued, “And the other phrase: ‘Before dawn, someone has to light up the darkness.’ The designer gave the final hint: the chosen ones must be those who can bring light in endless darkness. Thus, from the start, anyone pointing a gun at their teammate was already out. If the teammate cannot die, the choice could only be to…”

  Shoot oneself!

  Only then did Chu Jiu realize the deep meaning of the two phrases.

  So, he fired six shots at himself!

  There must be other factors she hadn’t fully grasped, but she thought of something else and asked, “Then about earlier…”

  Ji Xun cut her off, “You want to ask if the old servant who fired several shots at himself earlier could have passed too?”

  He answered his own question, “No, he couldn’t. He could have survived, but not passed. The greatest respect for the layout designer is to follow the game’s rules and pass it. Although we bypassed some small levels along the way, it didn’t matter. The master-servant duo appearing here indicates they took a shortcut. They had special intel from the outside, not discovered within the space themselves. Without those traits, they could never get the ultimate reward.”

  Exploiting game bugs to pass is fine, but you’ll miss some necessary clues and gameplay experience.

  You might get some rewards, but not all.

  That’s a given.

  Chu Jiu pondered.

  Ji Xun acknowledged, “That guy is pretty smart too, clearly realizing this, which is why he didn’t take the gun until the last moment. Even if he guessed it, someone in his status wouldn’t dare bet. If he died, everything would be lost. Anyone in his place would hesitate. After all, power and status can be restraints, making one lose the spirit of adventure. It’s destiny, unrelated to wisdom or anything.”

  Listening to Ji Xun untangling and explaining each level’s plot, Chu Jiu finally felt her tangled thoughts clearing up.

  But how could a normal person shoot themselves six times based on just these two clues?

  Chu Jiu couldn’t help but ask, “All these are your conjectures. What if you had bet wrong?”

  ”If I lost, I’d die.”

  Ji Xun responded lightly.

  His tone was calm, as if discussing something trivial.

  Under the gas mask, his face broke into a bright smile.

  He stared at the mechanical clown as if seeing himself in a mirror.

  After a moment, Ji Xun spoke in a low voice, “For me, the victory in such a gamble is more enticing than death.”

  These exquisite levels gave him that long-lost, pathological, ultimate pleasure reaching a cerebral climax!

  Seeing it twice already, Chu Jiu was used to it. She knew he seemed to have fallen into that self-absorbed and crazy state again.

  ”For it, the same holds true.”

  Sensing some gaze from the darkness, Ji Xun added, “If I had made the wrong bet, I’d die! But it would lose! If I didn’t die, we both wouldn’t win! It wouldn’t let itself lose!”

  Chu Jiu was puzzled, “It?”

  Ji Xun smiled brightly, “Yes. Another term could be the space’s designer? Or the space’s will? The final boss? Anyway, something like that.”

  Ji Xun asked again, “Do you know why I’m saying all this now?”

  Chu Jiu initially wanted to say: Isn’t it for me to hear?

  But she immediately understood the implication of his words and asked, “Why?”

  Ji Xun smiled slightly, “Because, that guy has been spying from the shadows.”

  Chu Jiu was stunned, looking around, “But by saying this, wouldn’t it…”

  Ji Xun shook his head, “It’s meant for it to hear. Unraveling a perfect mystery is a pleasurable experience. For a level designer, having someone appreciate his design’s intricacy brings more fulfillment than killing and toying with players who can’t grasp a level’s joy.”

  Chu Jiu felt a headache, automatically relating his words: How come I feel like the foolish player you’re mentioning is me?

  After a pause.

  Ji Xun looked at the grotesque mechanical clown again and asked for the second time, “Right, Mr. Clown?”

  This time, the clown responded, “Yes, adventurer.”

  Its originally exaggerated mouth widened into a smile that seemed to split its face, then it said, “Congratulations on completing the test.”

  Ji Xun, feeling as though meeting a worthy opponent, responded, “Thank you. It was a delightful experience.”

  The iron cage opened slowly.

  The clown smiled slightly.

  Its smile gradually stiffened.

  The already colorful paint quickly dulled, as if losing life, suddenly turning gray.

  The mechanical clown’s mission ended here.

  At the last moment, it uttered the card’s second phrase, “Before dawn, someone has to light up the darkness.”

  As if hearing an ancient whisper.

  Ji Xun listened silently, contemplating seriously.

  He gazed at the dead mechanical clown, unmoving for a long time.

  At this moment, enlightenment dawned.

  ”You heard descriptions of darkness in the whispers from the abyss, you touched ‘miracles’.”

  Ji Xun pondered, looking at the previously unremarkable black card in his hand.

  Now, it had changed.

  The calamity item listed in the file had already been in his hand.

  It was a gray poker card.

  [Ace – Gray Joker]

  Quality: Epic

  Category: Demon Mark

  Extraordinary Attributes:

  1. Trickster: Insight +10, photographic memory, cognition cannot be erased or altered by any external forces below card rule levels, probability of interpreting demon whispers;

  2. Cursed Gambler: A clown’s life seems cursed by fate, always plagued by bad luck. He grows in adversity and pain, like a blade dancer, finding meaning in thrills. The more dire the situation, the better the luck.

  3. Wildcard: Infinite body containment, all-element resistance with growth, the fusioner isn’t limited by sequence, can use any profession card to advance;

  4. Devil’s Feast: You can extract extraordinary traits from corpses;

  Evaluation: The Joker card is the most unique in poker, being both the ace and the wildcard. The clown mocks the gods’ hypocrisy, ridicules Death’s incompetence, and satirizes human greed and cowardice. He roams the shadows, spying on the world. This card is legendary yet hidden in history’s dust, one of the fifty-four demon source cards, pointing to an indescribable high-ranked demon. Fusion compatibility 97%, mutation probability not exceeding 5% upon fusing this demon mark.

  At the card’s bottom, a line of handwritten text was inscribed. Though unfamiliar with the script, Ji Xun understood: Is this a demon’s enslavement contract? No, quite the opposite; it is a sign of conquering the demon’s power—a signature M.

  Demon mark quality grades: Whiteboard, Black Iron, Silver, Gold, Legendary, Epic.

We’ve Moved! If you notice any missing, empty, or incorrect chapters, please leave a comment below, and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. Regular updates will resume on June 10th. Thank you for your patience!
Cataclysm Card Emperor

Cataclysm Card Emperor

Apocalypse Card Emperor, CCE, 灾变卡皇
Score 10
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: , Native Language: Chinese
“Doctor, it seems there’s something wrong with my emotions.” “There’s a clown in the West City Circus who can make everyone laugh. I think he can help you.” “But doctor… I am that clown.” “…” This is a fantasy world after a major catastrophe, where countless ancient dungeons lie buried beneath the fog-shrouded earth. In these dungeons, there are traps, monsters, and other-dimensional spaces, as well as ancient godly taboos and countless treasure legends left over from the old days. Disasters, steam, curse runes, ancient relics, a sequence of poker cards with extraordinary magic. Remnants of the old world, ancient relic shelters, poker monk associations, witch associations, fire thieves, the wall of the world… In the shadowy corners of the world, a treasure hunter wearing a clown mask walks alone in the darkness. He is Joker Ji Xun, the Cataclysm Card Emperor!

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