His fingertip silently hovered over Option C for a few seconds, but ultimately, Bai Yan breathed out a sigh and pressed Option B.
He wanted to violently swing a hammer on the snake-neck monster and hit it to death. However, the incident with the ghost baby showed that these monsters can’t be killed.
After choosing Option B, Bai Yan watched himself shake Wu Jingang with all his might. But seeing that he didn’t wake up at all, Bai Yan slowly raised his hands to the sides of Wu Jingang’s face and powerfully slapped both sides.
After a long pause, Wu Jingang was finally able to arouse from his blanked state, and his long neck was able to steadily return to its normal length. Bai Yan could hear himself ask in a trembling manner, “Jingang, is that you?”
“Yes, it’s me. What’s wrong, Yanyan? Did you have another nightmare again?”
“You don’t remember what just happened to your neck?” Bai Yan saw that he made a gesture with his hands, “Your neck unexpectedly became creepily long, which was scarier than what happened yesterday night. Your neck was even elongated and twisted until you were right in front of my face. It was extremely intimidating!”
“Jingang, I’m really not messing with you. You were surely possessed by a ghost!”
After two consecutive nights of these complaints, Wu Jingang also started becoming skeptical of the situation. He was puzzled as he touched his neck but felt that his neck was still a normal one, absolutely different from his wife’s previous motions that indicated that it was as long as a goose’s neck.
At this moment, Bai Yan had once again gained control over his body. As he saw Wu Jingang scratch his head, Bai Yan narrowed his eyes and also thought more about it, knowing that he can’t go on like this.
Dusting the first night, he sat and stared at me from a distance. Tonight, his neck grew long and our faces were uncomfortably near. At this rate, tomorrow night, the ghost would surely make a move against him.
The game required the player’s actions to move according to their character’s logic. Since Baiyan has experienced an unbroken succession of terrifying events, it would give her enough grounds to suspect her husband.
Organizing his thoughts, Bai Yan began to prepare to alter the storyline. Even story adventures like these have to follow and adapt to the character’s actions and can’t force them to their deaths.
As a result, Bai Yan tried to tell Wu Jingang, “Jingang, I’ll go sleep in the other room for now. These past two nights, you were extremely frightening. I’m scared to even spend the night with you, and I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”
“Yanyan…” Wu Jingang was reluctant. He still thought that there was nothing abnormal with him, but he was worried about Baiyan that she would still be upset over the incident a few days ago, causing her to have some psychological problems.
“Yanyan, how about this? Tonight, I’ll go sleep in the other room and tomorrow, I’ll take a sick day from work and accompany you to the hospital to find a psychiatrist. The mental pressure you’re enduring is too much so that’s why you’re imagining these delusions.”
After consoling Bai Yan, Wu Jingang carried his blanket and transferred over to the secondary bedroom to sleep. Since he had undergone three different choices for today, Bai Yan assumed that there was nothing more that could happen and lazily closed his eyes, quickly falling to sleep.
The next day, Wu Jingang woke up early in the morning and prepared to take Bai Yan to a psychiatrist.
However, as he was exiting the door, he suddenly received a notice from his company that he needed to work overtime again.
Bai Yan was well aware that he didn’t have any mental problems and that going to the hospital was simply a waste of time. Besides that, he had something to do this morning, so he drove Wu Jingang to work overtime.
Once Wu Jingang went off to work, it wasn’t long before Bai Yan also went out.
Before the clock struck 10, Bai Yan rushed towards the easy-to-find cafe in the neighborhood.
Yesterday afternoon, he printed out a stack of search notices, which implied that he had information about the game, and posted them all over the place to find the other players. If the others who entered the game at the same time as he did saw these, they would be waiting at the cafe right now and meet up with him.
Looking at the time, it was still too early to be 10 AM.
Bai Yan entered the cafe and surveyed the area. On the four-person table, he saw a woman dressed in red sitting. She was wearing a fiery red dress with black stockings, while sporting a red pair of shoes that matched her dress, appearing spirited as a person.
But what attracted Bai Yan to her wasn’t her eye-catching dress, it was the three neatly-arranged identical cups of coffee laid out on top of the table. Moreover, the contents of the coffee haven’t been consumed yet, as if they had just been served a moment ago.
Across the woman in red was a high school student dressed in a school uniform.
The high school student held a gel pen and played with it as he was busy answering some test papers, but like the woman in red, he was also surrounded by three identical cups of coffee. All in all, there were six cups of coffee on the table, and compared to the other tables inside, that one was particularly conspicuous, only needing a glance to differentiate it from the rest.
Finally, Bai Yan slowly walked over to them and casually asked the two, “Are you guys the players for this level of the game?”
Seeing the two silently nod their heads, Bai Yan pulled out a chair beside the high school student and sat down.
The three players had finally assembled, and the woman in red opened her mouth, saying, “I saw you around the neighborhood before. I was with a child that day, do you still remember?”
“I remember. The kid you were with was making a ruckus to play with the dog.” Bai Yan said bluntly, “We don’t have much time. Two days had already passed in the game. From here on out, things will get more and more difficult, so we should all share the information we have gathered so far. This was also one of my goals when I looked for you two.”
“Okay.” The high school student spoke up, “My name is Li Ming, which is the name of the character assigned to me by the game. I am a first year high school student. My parents are busy working, so I was raised by my grandparents. Half a month ago, my grandma died and a few days before, my grandpa fell ill and was immediately hospitalized. Currently, I live at home alone.”
“Li Ming, that’s in his first year.” Bai Yan promptly responded, “Don’t you live at 303?”
“Yes.” Li Ming remained calm as he added, “Do you know what happened to my family?”
“I’ve seen your grandma.” Bai Yan smiled, “It seems like your grandmother likes using ritual money for your dumplings, and I’m not sure if you’ve heard the sounds of meat chopping at night.”
“Not only did I hear them, but I also wrapped the dumplings with her.” Li Ming’s expression remained unchanging as he said in a terrified voice, “I used every bit of my strength to stuff those poisonous insects in those dumplings. I’m truly sorry for disturbing you both.”
“We’re all neighbors, so it’s no problem.” Bai Yan said, “Since we live near each other, then the room 402 from upstairs should be you, miss.”
“That’s me.” The lady in red nodded and said, “During this level in the game, my name is Yi Zihan. I have a husband and two kids, a son and a daughter. My eldest son is three years old this year while my youngest daughter has just turned ten months old, but when my daughter’s grandmother was taking care of her, she got a bit distracted and unfortunately fell down the stairs a few weeks ago. They both died as they collided with the wall.”
The two finished talking about their basic living situation, so Bai Yan also began to share his circumstances, “My name in this level is Baiyan and I also have a husband. Four days ago, a violent rapist entered my home, which ultimately led Baiyan to accidentally kill him by smashing a vase to his head. Right now, there’s a ghost that possesses my husband’s body and shows up every night. Most of my choices are related to him.”
After hearing Bai Yan’s share, Yi Zihan asked in suspicion, “How could you have a husband? Furthermore, why would you use a girl’s name?”
Bai Yan showed a polite smile and continued, “When I was choosing the gender, I wanted to try and choose the Female option. As a result, the game assigned me a woman’s identity.”
“Okay, I understand.” Yi Zihan looked anxious, “These past two days, the baby that had fallen to its death had been climbing up to the fourth floor to bother me every night. Although I’m not, Yi Zihan was her real mother, and the cause of her death was her grandmother’s fault, why won’t she go find her instead? Why does it absolutely insist on looking for me?”
Yi Zihan clutched onto her hair with her eyes bloodshot, “I’ve already consumed four resurrection coins. If I die two more times, it’ll definitely be the end for me. I can’t think of any reason why she would restlessly go after me for revenge. Oh, right. Also, when I was leaving my house, I encountered a dog, which was the one you saw with the girl that day. I was minding my own business and walked through the corridor when suddenly a dog jumped out and bit me to death. I couldn’t help kicking it yesterday. And today, it turned into a ghost and found me.”
“I know what happened to the dog.” Li Ming set aside his papers, “I’m classmates with Xu Feile and last night, she called to tell me that her dog ate some bad ham and died of food poisoning. You didn’t have anything to do with its death.”
“The dog dies, and it becomes a ghost. This game sure is interesting.” Bai Yan picked up Li Ming’s coffee and took a sip, “Did Xu Feile tell you where the dog died?”
“It died inside Xu Feile’s house. She also lives in our building. She lives in 502.” Li Ming lowered his hand that held the pen, “Xu Feile originally wanted to send her dog to the veterinarian, but the dog breathed its last huff inside the house, and last night, she buried her dog under the tree near the neighborhood. I also didn’t think that the dog would turn into a ghost.”
“Then, what about your grandmother? How did she die?”
“She naturally died of old age. She was already 80 years old, and I’m pretty sure that no one would kill her.”
After hearing what Li Ming said, Bai Yan sunk into deep thought.
At first, he believed that the ghosts at this level were out for vengeance, but looking at it now, it doesn’t seem this way.
Liu Xiaotian, the ghost baby, as well as the dog that turned into ghosts and all died unnatural deaths, so it’s reasonable for them to seek revenge, at least per the game’s logic. But, the death of Li Ming’s grandmother crushed this rule since she died due to old age.
It couldn’t be that the neighbors offended her before and that she couldn’t forget them until she died, so she wanted to give them a hard time.
Bai Yan rattled his brain to analyze the clues and found out what was the game’s pattern. Xu Feile lived at 502, Yi Zihan at 402, and him at 302, but in Li Ming’s case, the pattern broke since he lived at 303. Whether it be his living situation or his grandmother’s death, all of his events were independent of theirs. Could it be that Li Ming played a crucial part in the game?
Bai Yan cautiously drank his coffee but felt that there was something wrong with his assessment.
Except for Li Ming, he and Yi Zihan stood on common ground. All of the ghosts that they’ve been dealing with died inside the apartment complex.
Liu Xiaotian died due to Baiyan smashing a flower vase to his head. The grandmother breathed her last breath inside the house. Even the dog died of poison when it returned home while the ghost baby moved closely along the wall and was coincidentally stuck to the wall when it died. As he thought about these cases, Bai Yan already had a theory.
“Do you guys think that all of the ghosts were caused by dying in this building and that they will eventually return as an menacing departed spirit?”
After a long while, Li Ming fished out his phone and checked his text messages. He raised his head and said, “Earlier, Xu Feile sent me a text, saying that she saw the dog that she had taken care of. While she was sleeping with her door closed, she heard Huanhuan barking at her doorstep, but she distinctly remembered that she had buried the dog downstairs, so she felt very scared. She stayed up all night because of that and had to wait for her parents to wake up in the morning to even dare come out of her room.”
“That little girl is so annoying. There’s no problem with raising that dog, but that dog deserved to die from food poison.” Yi Zihan’s expression turned unpleasant, probably recalling her experience with the dog biting her, “When her dog died, she didn’t encounter any accidents. Instead, I died from getting bitten once. What kind of owner has this kind of dog? I heard that their dog was disobedient. No wonder it ate some bad meat. Why won’t she just die along with her dog?”
“If she was killed by her dog with its bite, it would pose an inconvenience for us.” Li Ming’s face slightly changed, “If it were as Baiyan had said, after Xu Feile dies, we would be facing up to five ghosts tonight. The ghosts would continue making the others deceased, and after the people die, they would turn into ghosts themselves. If that happens, then there would be far too many ghosts for us to handle and would this story adventure still give us an option to survive?”