Ch64 - A Cold
(Once you occupy it, you cannot back out)
Edited by Silver Wind
Having experienced such an interruption, the other players found it difficult to continue discussing their previous topic.
After a moment of silence, the Besuited Man laughed and broke the impasse.
“You’re right, we should eat something first.”
After all, they had to stay in the hotel for quite a long period of time; abstaining from the food completely was not feasible.
Puffy Skirt turned her face away.
On the other hand, Redhead went to grab two pieces of steak, and she was speaking as she ate.
“The game said we have to abide by the hotel’s rules and regulations, but what exactly are the rules we have to follow”
There was no one who was a new player at the table.
Being able to survive the “small game” in between signified that they had their own tricks of trade.
The Redhead raised a question that made the other two players sink into thoughtfulness.
The Besuited Man swirled the red wine glass in his hand, “The first rule, you can’t lose the bronze plaque given by the hotel.”
Prior to this, the lady at the front desk had purposefully emphasised that the hotel would ask for compensation should the bronze plaque be lost.
No one could be certain as to whether the “compensation” would require them to pay with their lives.
Puffy Skirt smiled sweetly and pointed out meaningfully: “Everyone should keep it properly oh.”
Typically, items where players would lose their lives upon misplacing it were not made for ghosts and monsters; rather, it was prepared for the player’s fellow companions.
After all, an analysis of the game’s broadcast told them that it was highly likely that only one person would live to tell the tale.
Once she uttered those words, the two other people’s complexion changed slightly.
Puffy Skirt was quite the infamy among players because she loved killing off all the players first before she solved the puzzle alone to clear the copy.
The reason why she did that was because when there was only one player left, the difficulty of the copy would try its best to avoid the scenario where all the players were annihilated by lowering the difficulty a little.
Ignoring their expressions, Puffy Skirt jumped out of her seat and conveniently grabbed a small cake as she walked out of the dining hall.
Redhead and Besuited Man exchanged looks.
After they finished the food on their plates with due haste, they left as well.
Thus, leaving the pair Shen Dongqing and Zhou Wenyan alone inside the dining hall.
Shen Dongqing was almost done eating and he was currently munching on caramel pudding.
He ate very seriously.
Holding onto a small silver spoon, he bounced it lightly on the caramelised sugar coating on top before he spooned up some of the springy pudding and placed it in his mouth, filling it with a sweet and milky taste.
After he was done with his pudding, he still wanted more and he was about to get another when a loud noise rang out outside, and it seemed to cause the entire hotel to tremble thrice.
Even though that occurred, Shen Dongqing still took a caramel pudding first to eat before he poked his head out to check.
Outside the dining hall was a long walkway with oil paintings decorating both sides of the walls, and it led towards a large hall where the noise probably came from.
Zhou Wenyan held Shen Dongqing’s shoulders and said: “Let’s go over there and take a look.”
The pair wandered down the walkway and arrived at the doors to the large hall.
The most noticeable change was that the crystal chandelier that was originally hanging on the ceiling was smashed onto the ground, causing a small depression in the floor tiles.
The bright crystals were scattered everywhere and one of them even rolled rapidly and stopped at Shen Dongqing’s feet.
Shen Dongqing bit into his spoon as he watched a dark red stain slowly spread out from under the chandelier.
It had smashed someone to death.
But it was not a player.
Redhead and Besuited Man were standing a short distance away from them while Puffy Skirt was at the other end of the large hall, hugging her shoulders and visibly annoyed.
The other guests came and went as if they did not see that a murder had just occurred in the large hall.
The attendant crossed over the puddle of blood with a normal expression and told the players: “I’m extremely sorry, due to the outdated facilities, the hotel will be going through renovations at night.
Guests, please do not leave your rooms after 10 o’ clock at night, or else……”
He drew back the corners of his mouth before he continued to speak: “Some dreadful things will happen.”
They thought on their feet; that dreadful thing would definitely want their lives.
Redhead nodded: “Sure, we will abide by it, may we know if there are any other rules in the hotel”
The attendant’s smile become queer, “You will know once you stay here longer.”
The Redhead was about to probe again when the Besuited Man pulled her to a stop and said in a low voice: “It’s going to be ten o’ clock soon!”
There was an old clock hanging in the middle of the large hall.
Its hour and minute hands shifted, stopping at the positions of nine and forty-five respectively.
There were only fifteen minutes before the clock struck ten.
Redhead’s heart jolted, “Where’s the elevator”
The attendant lifted his hand to point at the corner of the large hall.
Without further delay, the Redhead and Besuited Man rushed in that direction hurriedly.
Zhou Wenyan asked: “Are you full”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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He lowered his head and looked at the clean pudding bowl for a while before he chose to give up on his idea in the end.
* * *
The five players stood inside the elevator and the doors closed slowly but it did not move.
The Besuited Man looked up and down: “I’m in 2302.”
Redhead said: “I’m in Room 2301.”
Puffy Skirt: “2304.”
Therein lies the problem: this vacation hotel only went to the fourteenth floor, where did the twenty-third floor come from
In the isolated and narrow space, drips of sweat started oozing out of the Besuited Man’s forehead.
“It’s going to be ten o’ clock soon.”
According to the attendant’s words, if they did not return to their rooms by ten, it was highly probable that they would encounter ghosts and monsters.
Puffy Skirt: “Can’t we check every floor”
Raising her wrist, Redhead replied: “We won’t make it in time.”
There was only ten minutes left, if they checked every floor, they would definitely go past ten o’ clock.
As the trio were discussing, a hand reached over and pressed the 14th floor button directly.
The elevator began its ascent.
Redhead turned her head back and happened to see Zhou Wenyan retracting his hand.
“How did you know that it was the 14th floor”
Zhou Wenyan leaned against the elevator wall and said lazily: “The number ‘14’ doesn’t have good connotations.
Generally speaking, superstitious people will replace the number with something else.”
Puffy Skirt raised her head and pretended to be naïve but there were barbs hidden in her words: “When the number 23 are added together, it makes 5.
Why are you so certain that it’s 14, aren’t you afraid that you’ll harm other people by pressing the wrong button”
Zhou Wenyan did not even lift his eyelids.
“Then the harm is done.”
Was that of any importance
Did it have anything to do with him
Puffy Skirt: “You!”
Another “ding” sounded.
The elevator stopped.
After the door opened, a corridor that was so deep that it seemed endless appeared before their eyes.
The lights were dismal and the door numbers on the two doors next to it were inundated with bloody light, making it look like a coffin.
Despite standing closest to the exit, Redhead and Besuited Man hesitated, not daring to walk out.
In contrast, Zhou Wenyan stretched out his long legs and walked out without a pause.
Shen Dongqing was still puzzled, “So why is it the 14th floor”
Zhou Wenyan turned his head sideways to look at him before explaining with deliberate slowness.
“Because the 14th floor is inauspicious.”
In accordance to the dog game’s conventions, didn’t it always stuff the players into places which were terrible and filled with ghosts and monsters
When the other players saw that the two of them found their room, they exited the elevator in a hurry to find the room that belonged to them.
Then, Zhou Wenyan took out his door plaque and pressed it on the door handle.
* * *
The room door opened with a “kacha” noise.
What greeted them was an inky darkness because the room lights were not turned on, but in the instant where they opened the door, they could discern that something had flash past.
Zhou Wenyan pressed the switch that was on the wall by the door and the hanging lamp flickered once before it lit up completely.
The room’s furnishing could still be considered as tasteful.
However, perhaps by virtue of the fact that it had been built a long time ago, its antiquated qualities were apparent in its decorations and ornaments.
Shen Dongqing rubbed his arm: “Why does it feel a little cold”
“Maybe the air conditioner’s temperature is set too low.”
The room was outfitted with a central air conditioning that only allowed them to turn it on and off instead of allowing them to adjust the temperature.
Zhou Wenyan walked over to take a look.
On the screen, the temperature displayed was 25°C and it looked normal but he switched it off nonetheless.
“It’ll be fine after a while.”
Despite waiting for some time, Shen Dongqing could sense that the room’s temperature did not increase.
Thus, he shrank himself on the bed, using the blankets to cover himself firmly apart from his head, and he bore a striking resemblance to a hibernating hamster.
When Zhou Wenyan caught sight of his appearance, he could not help but laugh out loud.
Hearing that, Shen Dongqing poked his head out from the blanket slowly and his face was full of question marks.
Zhou Wenyan climbed into the bed and pulled him into his arms.
With the two of them sharing the same bed and blankets, stuck to each other tightly, they warmed up very quickly.
After huddling himself in Zhou Wenyan’s embrace, Shen Dongqing fell into a deep sleep after a short while.
Seeing that, Zhou Wenyan covered him with the blankets properly before he climbed off the bed with feather light movements and came to a stop at the windowsill.
He stood there and gazed downwards at the hotel’s flower garden but the distance was too far and he could not see anything.
He stretched his hand out to pull at the window curtains, except he seemed to touch something when he was halfway done.
Zhou Wenyan lowered his head, only to see a glittering and translucent snowflake float past his eyes, followed by the distorted face of a woman mounted on the ceiling above him.
The woman happened to be positioned in the middle of the window curtains, and after meeting Zhou Wenyan’s gaze, her pupils twitched, mouth pulling so far to her sides that it was essentially going to reach her ears.
After Zhou Wenyan met her eyes, he immediately proceeded to exert force under his hands, completely disregarding the fact that there was a human face right in the middle as he pulled the curtains to a close.
That face was squeezed to the point where her eyes were slanted and her mouth was askew, turning her into a comical sight.
However, she was not aware of it in the slightest as she tried her hardest to frighten the person in front of her.
Unfortunately for her, Zhou Wenyan did not spare her any face at all, for he switched off the lights, climbed into bed and fell asleep.
Hence, that face could only stare at the pair lying on the bed with dead set eyes as she attempted to stick out half of her head from the ceiling.
However, before she could succeed, she heard a cold snort that scared her into shrinking her head back, leaving only a blond strand of hair to drift down.
The temperature continued to lower further and further as if they had vaguely returned to the snow mountain.
* * *
Shen Dongqing felt his nose itching, and after trying to hold it back for a long time, he started sneezing.
He rubbed his nose.
There was a change in the quality of his voice as he mumbled, “What’s wrong with me……”
Zhou Wenyan was in the process of wearing his shirt when he heard Shen Dongqing’s words.
Kneeling on the bed with one knee, he stretched a hand out to touch his forehead.
It was a little hot.
“You’ve caught a cold,” Zhou Wenyan stated as he did up his buttons, “Eat some medicine later.”
Shen Dongqing was muddled.
“I caught a cold, huh.” He became happy all of a sudden.
“I’ve never been sick before, it’s good that I can get sick.”
Only humans could fall ill, ghosts could not.
Zhou Wenyan pinched his cheek, “What kind of silly words are you speaking”
Shen Dongqing held Zhou Wenyan’s hand, plastering it to his cheek as he said seriously: “I like being human.”
It was better than being a ghost.
He could feel warmth, had the ability to eat delicious food, could touch other things and he even managed to meet Zhou Wenyan.
He sighed with emotion: “I don’t want to become a ghost again!”
Zhou Wenyan’s eyes softened, “Okay.”
The pair cuddled for a while before they went downstairs to eat their breakfast.
* * *
When they opened the door, they noticed that the other players were gathered in the middle of the corridor.
Upon seeing the both of them exit their room, the Redhead could not restrain herself from asking: “Did you encounter something last night”
Shen Dongqing: “No ah.”
He slept until daylight arrived, he encountered nothing.
Redhead said: “When I was sleeping, I smelled something burning.” She pushed open her room door and pointed at the wall they were facing and there was a scorched human outline like they had been pasted against the wall as they were burning to death, “And there was this.”
Puffy Skirt continued: “My room shook for an entire night and a lot of objects fell down.” Her room was already in disorder and there was no place for her to rest her feet at all.
Besuited Man said: “Last night, vehicle lights and horns sounded from my window and the people in the car were shouting my name.”
The most terrifying thing was that they were staying on the 14th floor.
Zhou Wenyan: “Our room had snow.”
After listening to everyone’s recollection, the Redhead asked: “When you were in the minigame, what was the setting that took place I had to flee from a fire.”
Puffy Skirt: “Earthquake.”
Besuited Man: “Car accident.”
Zhou Wenyan said: “Aviation accident, we crashed into a snow-capped mountain.”
Which meant that everything corresponded.
A scorched corpse and smoke appeared in Redhead’s room, Puffy Skirt experienced tremors for the entire night, and a car materialised for the Besuited Man.
Was this explicitly hinting that even if they escaped once, they might die a second time because of the same causes
Thinking about this point, Redhead shivered: “What should we do now”
No one said a word.
Instead, it was Shen Dongqing who raised his hand energetically.
“Let’s eat breakfast first, I’m hungry.”
The other players exchanged gazes.
Considering how they could not think of any better ideas, they could only get some breakfast first.
* * *
After one night.
The fallen crystal chandelier from yesterday had been cleaned up and removed, a new one hanging from the ceiling.
Similarly, the broken floor tiles were reverted to its original appearance and not a single bloodstain could be seen.
Wearing a smile, the attendant walked forward to inquire: “Dear guests, did you sleep well last night”
Redhead tried to test him by saying: “I’m not very used to the bedding, are we allowed to change rooms”
“That is not allowed oh.” The attendant’s smile became a little fainter, carrying a whiff of dark sincerity, “Once you’ve occupied it, you can’t back out.”
It was as if they were not choosing a room but a burial ground.
Redhead forced a smile on her visage, “Sure, alright……”
After confirming the fact that they could not switch rooms, she followed the people before her and walked into the dining room.
They had no choice to say this but, no matter how strange the hotel was, the hotel’s chefs had commendable craftsmanship.
They provided a variety of dishes, all of them were colourful and fragrant; just for breakfast alone, they had over a dozen of dishes displayed on the food counters and it had everything from western to eastern cuisines.
Probably because he had caught a cold, Shen Dongqing was somewhat weak and weary but that did not deter him from willing his illness-ridden body to persist and he clipped up quite a few items onto his plate to eat.
Zhou Wenyan sat down with a coffee cup in hand as he said: “Do you have the appetite”
Shen Dongqing picked up a fried dumpling, dipped it in vinegar and sent it into his mouth.
Upon hearing Zhou Wenyan’s question, he blanked out for a moment before he returned a question in a matter-of-factly tone.
“Why wouldn’t I have the appetite”
For the most part, people with colds would not have any appetite but it was evident that he could not apply the normal person template where his Xiao Dongqing was concerned.
Zhou Wenyan shifted the topic, “…… I’ll get some medicine for you later.”
Shen Dongqing bopped his head before he lowered his head again to eat his breakfast in earnest.
Zhou Wenyan raised his hand to beckon the attendant.
Bending his waist, the attendant asked: “Guest, do you have any requests”
Zhou Wenyan: “Do you have any cold medicine”
The attendant said smilingly, “Yes, but we require the guests to retrieve some on their own elsewhere.”
Zhou Wenyan turned his head back and saw that Shen Dongqing still had his head buried in the food and he looked like he hadn’t eaten his fill yet.
Hence, he told him: “Wait for me here, I’ll be back soon.”
A custard bun was still contained in Shen Dongqing’s mouth and he could not speak.
In lieu of speaking, he nodded his head to express that he heard him.
Thus, Zhou Wenyan walked out with the attendant and he had yet to return even when Shen Dongqing was done with his food.
Meanwhile, the other players, having eaten their breakfasts, decided to explore the hotel as a group, leaving Shen Dongqing alone in the dining hall.
Shen Dongqing was not anxious either, and he drank his milk slowly.
When he was halfway through his beverage, a female attendant walked over to him: “Hello there, may I ask if you are the guest with a cold”
Shen Dongqing stilled briefly before he reacted.
The female attendant smiled, saying: “Can you follow me please, our doctor has to diagnose your illness before he can give a prescription, and there is another person waiting for you there.”
Shen Dongqing had never received a check-up before, and he did not know what kind of procedures there were.
However, the words of the female attendant sounded logical to him so he did not think too much about it before he followed her.
As Shen Dongqing trailed after the female attendant, he could only see her side profile and the blonde hair that she had combed up meticulously.
And when he leaned closer, he could feel the chilliness she emanated.
Shen Dongqing stared at the female attendant for a long while.
This person…… looked a little familiar but he could not remember where he had seen her.