translator: baumkuchen editor: glitterypanda
The warm blood that spurted out from the communication window coated half of Yuan Benshan’s face in bright red.
He tentatively pressed the corner of his mouth with his thumb. It was already swollen.
He looked down at Gan Tang, who had fallen to the ground. After a moment of thought, he still went over and helped her up.
Gan Tang had already fallen unconscious. Fortunately, the edges of her wound were sealed over with a shiny material. It looked like a broken glass surface, and there wasn’t actually any bleeding.
Gan Tang’s eyes were shut tight, her face ashen pale, like she was on the verge of death.
Chi Xiaochi rushed over to Gan Tang’s side and gingerly knelt down next to her. “Tang-jie?”
His hands were shaking uncontrollably. Even he himself didn’t know why he was having such a strong reaction.
The moment he, watching from afar, saw her right leg shatter into a pile of glass pieces, sending her toppling to the ground, Chi Xiaochi’s mind went blank, his vision turning dark for a few seconds.
……Ten seconds earlier.
Upon realising something wasn’t right, it had originally been Chi Xiaochi who was about to go up to stop Yuan Benshan.
In a very short period of time, Chi Xiaochi had established a complete chain of logic in his mind.
The mechanism in the corridor could only be triggered by human heat. Hence, moving the cabinet inside to replace the heat signature wouldn’t work.
Therefore…… there had to be someone in the corridor, and due to the restrictions of the terrain, the one who went in had to be the scrawniest one in the group.
And the two people in charge of “holding hands” through the communication port, were strictly required to be over 55kg.
Only when the glass corridor closed, would their door to life open. The situation was already urgent, and the drummer monkey’s clue was without a doubt meant to be the decisive push to get them to force Jia Siyuan on the path to death.
If she succeeded in escaping, then, unless there was someone who was willing to sacrifice themselves, who would still be willing to enter that deadly corridor?
When the time came, everyone would struggle, try to pass the buck, and start to fight one another, maybe even going so far as to start killing each other.
There was no other reason.
This was the last task, and a task that had a time limit of only one hour.
No one wanted to die, so, they could only put forward someone else.
Even if Chi Xiaochi tried to convince them that there could still be another way of escaping the room, at such a critical moment, how could he persuade these people who had already caught a glimmer of hope of life to give it up?
……Therefore, this was a complete and utter death trap.
No matter what happened, the clown watching them from the outside would be able to see the show he wanted to see: Whether it was like right now, them forcefully sacrificing someone to open up the path for them, or whether it was the few of them sitting together, blaming one another, trying to coax the other to their death.
Chi Xiaochi spent a few moments constructing this chain of logic in his mind, then began to think of ways to deal with it.
In such a short amount of time, to protect the completely innocent Jia Siyuan’s life, he could only think of one method – breaking the wall with brute force.
The clown had said, he hated having to redecorate, that is to say, once someone damaged the interior facilities, they would have to suffer a punishment.
An unknown punishment, compared to a human life……
Chi Xiaochi had hesitated for a moment, before getting up and striding over, prepared to break that damned glass.
Who knew at that moment, Gan Tang would step in front of him.
She said, I’ll do it.
With just three simple words, she helped Chi Xiaochi avoid suffering a catastrophe.
Chi Xiaochi pulled Gan Tang into his arms, calling out in a hoarse voice, “Tang-jie?”
Gan Tang didn’t move.
Chi Xiaochi suddenly couldn’t quite breathe. He used a trembling finger to check if she was still breathing.
He didn’t remember how long ago it had been since the last time he’d done this anymore, only that he hated this feeling.
It wasn’t hating others, it was hating your own incompetence.
Fortunately, the result of this check was pretty good.
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, pressing his face to her faintly fragrant-smelling hair. He muttered in a low voice, “Tang-jie.”
With the return of his ability to breathe, Chi Xiaochi’s ability to hear went back to normal as well.
In the other corner of the room, a dispute had already begun. It was between Xu Jiayi and Qiao Yun.
However, because they’d personally seen the terrible state Gan Tang was in, they didn’t dare to actually fight no matter how bad their argument got.
Xu Jiayi was originally of a very unflappable personality, but he too had been shocked by the terrible thing he’d seen.
He raged at the bloody Qiao Yun, “You killed her!”
Qiao Yun was currently trying to wipe away the blood that had leaked into her mouth. Hearing this, she couldn’t help but sneer. “But I helped you all open the door.”
Xu Jiayi, “What about other paths? Why not look around first, why be in such a hurry to force her to her death?”
“Look for what?” Qiao Yun, realising it was hard to rid herself of the bloody taste in her mouth, retched a few times in disgust. “You should’ve gone and looked then, when the time came, after Xiao Jia came out of the corridor, and we couldn’t find another escape route, were you going to go in and step on the mechanism for her?”
“What if there was another way?”
“What if there wasn’t.”
“Is it that there really isn’t, or is it really that you’re scared that there are other clues, and don’t dare to look?”
“Go fuck your mother!” Qiao Yun was furious from his questioning. “What are you pretending for? If you’re so noble, last time when we ran into that headless ghost, why didn’t you ‘oh so nobly’ stay behind and let it eat you? Laoniang helped you all block a disaster, and ended up covered in blood for it. You fucking got a let off lightly for once but you still want to act all good! If you have the ability, don’t go through the door, just stay here and guard her body, why don’t you?!”
Meng Qiao had a headache from all the arguing and yelled out a “shut up”. Doing his best to avoid looking at the mushy meat paste in the glass, he looked over to the other side of the room and asked Chi Xiaochi, “How is she?”
Chi Xiaochi replied, “Still alive.”
“Why did she have to go out of her way to involve herself in other people’s business!” Qiao Yun was actually very fraught on the inside, and could only depend on bravado to embolden herself and suppress the guilt of ending a human life. “They already said don’t break anything, what’s she courting her own death for?”
Chi Xiaochi didn’t speak, simply looking up and staring quietly at her.
Qiao Yun was actually a little frightened by his piercing gaze, but wasn’t willing to obediently shut up, muttering, “If you don’t have the ability why try and play the hero.”
Meng Qian let out a filthy curse. “All of you, stop arguing! We’ve already wasted 18 minutes on the first room alone, are you guys going to move on to the next room or not?!”
Chi Xiaochi bent down, planning on carrying the unconscious Gan Tang on his back.
Yuan Benshan, who had been squatting next to him the entire time, helped out.
He had none of Qiao Yun’s conviction as he tentatively called out to the person in front of him. “……Chun…… Xiaochi.”
Chi Xiaochi casually pulled out a packet of tissues from his pocket and handed it to him. “Wipe your face.”
There was a hint of pleased shock in Yuan Benshan’s face. “You don’t blame me?”
Chi Xiaochi stared at a patch of empty air behind his head, his lips quivering slightly, like he had something on his mind, but also like he was avoiding his gaze. “……Who let the mechanism be designed that way.”
Yuan Bensan quickly echoed, “Right, right.”
Chi Xiaochi said, “What we’re facing aren’t those children from the welfare centre, nor is it that female ghost from the castle. The other party is a serial killer, a psychopath, we can’t reason with him.”
Yuan Benshan was very moved by Song Chunyang’s understanding of him. He took the initiative to lift Gan Tang by the waist, moving her unconscious body onto Chi Xiaochi’s back.
As he settled Gan Tang onto his back, Chi Xiaochi thought, the person they were facing was indeed a psycho.
However, this Qiao and Yuan duo who were able to match up with this psycho’s brain waves immediately, were also indeed people of extraordinary talent.
At that moment, Gan Yu, who’d been completely silent since just now, slowly walked over towards Chi Xiaochi. “Let me carry Tangtang.”
The colour of his face looked very ugly, but his expression was calm. However, beads of cold sweat were collecting on his nose, and it was unknown if it was out of panic or anger.
Chi Xiaochi didn’t speak, just pushing Gan Tang further up his back.
He tried to disperse the extra weight as much as possible. With every step that landed on the glass floor, cracking would inevitably sould, making Yuan Benshan, who was following behind him, scared witless.
Fortunately, they safely got through the door.
That door seemed to have fed on Jia Siyuan’s blood and flesh. Having absorbed enough nutrients, in the moment that Jia Siyuan was squashed flat, it grew with her demise, returning to a normal size. Even though the centre was still divided by a glass wall, the gaps on the left and right sides were already able to allow a person to pass through.
They were pressed for time. Even Xu Jiayi, who had some things to say about Qiao Yun’s methods, didn’t choose to stay and accompany that lump of bloody flesh and broken bones or look for that unconfirmed second method.
After everyone stepped into the dark door, the door abruptly shut.
It seemed as if they’d entered a narrow, elevator-like mobile unit. They were transported by the rickety device to an unknown, distant place.
Chi Xiaochi’s eyes were still filled with images of the blood slowly seeping down the inside of the glass, as well as the shattered glass all over the ground.
……The broken pieces of Gan Tang’s right leg were mixed in amongst them, forever irretrievable.
He took in a few breaths, forcing himself to calm down.
As of right now, they not only needed to play the game, but also take care of the injured Gan Tang.
Gan Tang should be fine…… As long as she could hold on until they went out……
In the darkness, a left hand gently reached out and grabbed his hand.
He quivered, instinctively turning his head, but found that Gan Tang’s head was still resting on his shoulder, unconscious and yet to stir.
Gan Yu’s gentle whisper sounded from behind him, “This had nothing to do with you. Don’t blame yourself.”
Chi Xiaochi looked down.
He only felt like the hand holding his was even colder than his was, but felt surprisingly steady and reliable.
Just like how every time he and Gan Yu touched, Chi Xiaochi didn’t feel any discomfort.
A thought crossed his mind. He turned back, wanting to see him, but that face was hidden in the deep darkness, hard to distinguish.
And in an area he couldn’t see, Gan Yu leaned back against the wall, his right hand pressed tight against his thigh, cold sweat pouring off him like a waterfall.
If Chi Xiaochi had been listening closely just now, he would have found that there had been a slight tremble of pain at the end of his speech.
After about another two minutes of moving up, down, forwards and sideways, the elevator device stilled.
The sound of thumping could be heard all around them, as their hearts beat violently in their chests.
Meng Qian, “It stopped?”
The moment his words fell, the floor beneath their feet suddenly pulled away!
The terrifying feeling of weightlessness flooded their senses.
But in the next moment, the few of them found themselves standing in a brightly lit room. It was just like the falling feeling you sometimes experience in shallow sleep, just as you think you’re going to hit the ground and die, you open your eyes and find that you’re lying in your bed, perfectly fine.
Compared to the previous room, this place was a lot more normal. At the very least, the ground and walls were all made from cement. There was an iron door with a big brass lock, which seemed to me the only way out.
In the middle of the room was a huge enclosed aquarium about the height of a person. There were little fake mountains, tall water plants, and lighting lamps in a perfectly complete setup. Going by its size, it could probably be used to hold a small shark.
Qiao Yun, face still splattered with blood, was sitting inside.
She hadn’t wrapped her mind around what was going on at all, absently stroking the walls of the aquarium with a dazed look on her face.
Qiao Yun patted the glass a few times, then got up and pushed at the tightly-shut lid. The lid had built-in locks on all sides, so even as she pushed with all her might, the lid remained unmoving, heavy as a stone.
She felt around the aquarium, but wasn’t able to find an exit. She could only see that there was a red-painted banner hanging on the outside. There should have been something written on it, but she couldn’t decipher it from behind.
By this point, no matter how slow her reactions were, she would have sensed something was wrong. Her face turning green, she began to beat on the glass, asking, “What’s written on there?”
The rest were silent. Even Xu Jiayi, who’d just been arguing with her, remained quiet, not answering.
On the banner were painted countless bright yellow stars and colourful confetti, a clown jumping out of a jack-in-the-box, and words written in a cursive font.
“This is a prize for the best-performing player in the last room!”
Yuan Benshan’s face was pale as he released a slightly gladdened sigh of relief.
Chi Xiaochi carefully pushed Gan Tang up his back. Then, he walked over to the aquarium, and knocked on it a few times with his hand.
Unlike the normal glass in the last world, the quality of the glass here was so good it raised people’s hackles. It was entirely bulletproof.
Other than this giant aquarium, there were four little boxes placed in each corner of the room.
Yuan Benshan walked over to one of the boxes and lifted its lid to find a half-inch thick maze panel.
Meng Qian opened another box and found the same thing.
He said, curious, “Isn’t this that kind of game ruler we used to see around a lot when we were younger?”
Sure enough, the square plastic plate was very much like these game rulers that were commonly seen in little kiosks. The back of the ruler could be used for measuring, while the front had a long miniature maze and a little steel ball that could roll around freely.
Children who tended to drift off in class really liked playing with this kind of ruler, having the little steel ball roll from the start of the maze to the end of the maze, then roll back from the end of the maze to the start of the maze.
This maze panel was just a larger version of those game rulers, except that the “maze” area was bigger, and the terrain was more complex.
Meng Qian reached out to pick up the panel from the box.
Gan Yu, sensing something wasn’t right, called out in a cold voice, “Don’t move!”
Meng Qian’s hand froze in mid-air.
He also had noticed something was wrong.
Connecting the maze panel and the bottom of the box, was a thin, thin thread.
Upon taking a closer look, Meng Qian instantly broke out into a sweat.
He wasn’t a professional, but as long as they’d seen a few cop movies, who wouldn’t be able to recognise these colourful plastic wires as the standard configuration of a bomb?
……If he had broken the thread just now……
While the group was frozen in shock, a small loudspeaker on the southeast side of the room suddenly began to blare out, giving everyone a fright.
“Welcome to my wonderful gift house——”
It was the clown’s voice.
His voice was filled with a twisted excitement. “Congratulations on your success in passing the first level! ~The winner of the first level has been awarded a prize! Becoming the key figure of our second level! Let’s give her a round of applause! Bravo!!”
Qiao Yun’s hands scratched madly at the insides of the aquarium, her body dripping with cold sweat.
“Now, let’s invite our winner to find your prize in the fake mountains!!”
Qiao Yun didn’t dare to waste any time. She fell to her knees, and with shaking hands, found a copper key in the decorative rocks.
……It was the key to the outside.
The clown clapped his hands through the microphone. “Now, I’ll be letting you know the rules of your game. Please look at these four exciting surprise boxes. Each of them has a maze panel inside. There are escape routes, there are death routes, and there’s also a very interesting thing—— bombs.”
Meng Qian and the rest hurriedly went to go look.
Sure enough, other than the little steel balls, there were also densely-distributed black spherical objects, scattered at the each corner of the mazes. The angles were very sharp, and the number of bombs was many.
“They’re real bombs, okay?” The clown giggled. “Be careful, if, on the path to the exit, your steel ball accidentally touches them——”
A short silence.
That sudden increase in volume made Qiao Yun shriek.
“You have fifteen minutes. If you solve each of the four boxes, you’ll unlock each of the four locks on the aquarium, and be able to take out the treasure you all want~” The clown’s laughter, with him having received the desired reactions, became even more strange. “Right, in order to make it easier for you to keep track of the time, I’ll provide you with a more intuitive method.”
Just as Qiao Yun’s nerves had settled, she suddenly felt something damp on her hands.
Looking down, she could no longer keep her fear suppressed and let out a scream.
The water inlet of the aquarium, had actually begun to let in water!
“After fifteen minutes, if you still haven’t unlocked the locks——” The clown let out a strange laugh. “The person in the aquarium, will become my mermaid princess. Heeheeheehee.”
The intercom suddenly cut off, leaving only Qiao Yun’s shrieks as she tried to block the water inlet with her hands, but water still continued to seep out from between her fingers.
Chi Xiaochi knew that this kind of mechanism-related game, was his weak point of weak points.
So he naturally patted Gan Yu. “Doctor Gan, I’ll leave it to you.”
Gan Yu knelt down on his left knee. Using his knee to support himself, only after a bit of struggling, was he able to place his right leg flat on the ground.
He did his best to gather his focus which had scattered from the pain, and said in a soft voice, “I’ll do my best.”
baum: hey guys, thanks for being so understanding when I was sick last week 🙂 And thank you all for your well-wishes!