Ch98 - Battle Round
Amy: From now on, Inspiration Check will be termed as Investigation Check.
I’ve made the change in the previous chapter as well.
Thank you for your suggestion, Bec!
The doctor remained silent for a moment before responding to the game’s words: “…Let’s go.”
The crisp sound of dice falling filled every player’s ears.
[Investigation Check unsuccessful.]
[You think this is just another temple with nothing exceptional about it.]
“As long as you’re not blind, you’ll know there’s an issue with the temple, okay” mocked the detective.
Only a few locations were used in horror films: hospitals, schools, apartment buildings, and temples.
Furthermore, every special scene that featured in a game instance was useful, and it was impossible to create a meaningless area purely for fun.
The doctor: “There is nothing that can be done.
This is how it works according to the rules.
You won’t be able to find any important clues if you fail the Investigation Check.”
The detective: “This stupid game has never been trustworthy.
We should go to the temple and look around.”
The doctor: “But our main thread isn’t going to the temple.
Secondly, the Investigation Check failed, so we can’t get any clues.
We’d better go to the place where we should report first.”
She appeared to treat this game as a real-life TRPG, believing that death would just rip away the character card and cause no harm to herself.
The other players, though, knew better and believed the detective was correct.
There were certainly some bizarre ghosts lurking in the temple, but their goal was not to provoke strange spirits, but rather to complete the main thread in accordance with their own identities.
After a brief period of thought, the photographer took out the camera from her bag and captured the temple.
In this split second, the temple was frozen in the camera screen.
In the photo, the temple’s surroundings abruptly sank, and the red wall encircling it appeared to have been splashed with a layer of blood so thick that it couldn’t be separated.
“It looks quite horrifying.” The photographer put the camera away.
At this point, the old man who had driven them to an inn wobbled over, noticed their group staring at the faraway temple, and cheerfully introduced it: “That is the Girls' Temple in our village.
It’s incredibly efficacious, but it’s too late now.
You can go burn incense tomorrow.
It’ll grant whatever is asked for.”
He turned around and pointed again: “This is the inn.
It’s good to do whatever you need to do during the day, right.”
The sky darkened suddenly as he finished speaking, with roiling dark clouds periodically flashing with lightning bolts.
The doctor shrank her head in fear.
The old man fanned himself with a palm-leaf fan: “It’s going to rain.
I need to hurry home and gather my clothes—”
He trudged forward in his slippers, then vanished into the alley.
The lane was filled with densely packed old-fashioned buildings.
The white walls were inlaid with square windows that seemed like pairs of black eyes staring at this bunch of foreigners.
Doctor: “Do we listen to the uncle”
The old man’s remarks had revealed information.
Going to the Girls’ Temple was definitely a requirement, and they’d better not go out at night!
Shen Dongqing lazily leaned on Zhou Wenyan’s shoulder, listening to the three players talk.
Detective: “Let’s listen to the uncle’s words first, and then act tomorrow.”
The rain began to fall as soon as the players chose to proceed to the inn first.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a deluge.
Thus, they didn’t pay any attention to it, and they all dashed madly in the rain.
Plop, plop, plop—
A certain amount of rainwater filled the eaves, and the water droplets slid down drop by drop.
Two drops of water landed on Shen Dongqing’s palm as he reached out to catch it.
The rain didn’t appear to be clear, and when you approached close, you could smell a faintly discernible fishy odor.
“Come here,” Zhou Wenyan said, taking off his jacket.
Shen Dongqing shook the water drops off his palm and leaned in, tightly wrapped in the jacket that had arrived out of nowhere.
He flicked it to one side, exposing a pair of dark, clear eyes.
Zhou Wenyan walked into the rain with the suitcase in one hand and the person in the other.
Shen Dongqing wiggled free of Zhou Wenyan’s grip, propped up his jacket, and shared it with the man next to him.
The jacket was not over-sized and barely covered the two people’s heads.
It couldn’t keep their bodies dry, so they were drenched from the shoulders down.
Zhou Wenyan felt rather helpless.
He had originally anticipated that just one person would be soaked, but now both of them would get wet in the rain.
“If you want to get wet in the rain, let’s get wet together,” Shen Dongqing winked, cocking his head.
They were fortunate to arrive at their destination before being poured on and resembling drowned rats.
They didn’t expect to find an inn in this remote ancient town.
Shen Dongqing noticed a sign on the wall as soon as he went in: Mobile 2G Coverage, Super Fast Internet Surfing!
“It’s not the peak tourist season these days, so all the rooms are unoccupied,” said an elderly lady sitting at the reception desk.
“You are free to stay as you like for 51 days.”
The detective: “…Tourists”
The old lady said nothing and merely gave him a sidelong glance.
The detective was puzzled for a second before understanding hit him.
He took out some money and gave it to her.
“For the time being, I’ll pay for a seven-day stay.”
The old lady’s attitude instantly improved, and even the wrinkles on her face relaxed.
She deposited the money on the counter at a speed that belied her age, and then said: “Yes, don’t you little youngsters just love coming to the wilderness During peak season, you arrive in groups, allowing my inn to operate in this lousy place.”
“How many days do they stay” Zhou Wenyan questioned abruptly.
The elderly lady’s eyes narrowed: “It’s only a few days.
There’s nothing fun in this small place, so it’s impossible to play for too long.
They only stay for four or five days and then leave.”
The detective inquired: “How long has your inn been operating, Aunt Is there another inn nearby”
The elderly lady yawned: “I’m too old to remember anything clearly.
I can’t make any money with another inn in this small town!”
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The detective promptly took out a red banknote and stuffed it into the old lady’s hand, saying ingratiatingly, “Please think about it, please”
The old lady grinned as she tucked the bill away at lightning speed: “I don’t remember, but everyone who checks in is required to register their names.
The registration book from eighteen years ago… it should have been stored in the junk room.
If you want to find it, look for it yourself.”
The detective had discovered a clue and immediately became overjoyed, “Thank you, Aunt!”
Only the detective had a goal in this bunch of individuals.
The doctor came here for work, and the photographer happened to be passing through, and neither had a specific objective.
The two girls discussed it and decided to help the detective in locating the registration book from eighteen years ago.
Thump, thump, thump! The three of them rushed upstairs.
Shen Dongqing was feeling too lazy to move.
He sat on the small wooden bench in the first-floor hall, watching the incessant rain outside.
Zhou Wenyan walked over and inquired, “Do you know where Ah Ying lives”
This game instance’s token was a letter sent from here, and the person who sent the letter was “Ah Ying.”
Ah Ying said that she and her grandmother lived in the same house and had never moved, but Zhou Wenyan had no memory of it and hence had no idea where it was.
When the old lady heard the words “Ah Ying,” a glint of panic flashed across her eyes.
“I don’t know!” she exclaimed impatiently, turning her head.
[Would you like to use Psychology] The game’s voice rang intimately.
[You can tell if she’s lying.]
Zhou Wenyan ignored the game, grabbed the luggage, and walked over to call Shen Dongqing.
Shen Dongqing was soaked in the rain, and he was sluggish and unwilling to move.
He simply raised his head to look at Zhou Wenyan.
Zhou Wenyan rubbed his brow: “Change your wet clothes.
Be good or you’ll catch a cold.”
Shen Dongqing rose up exasperatingly slowly after some coaxing and followed him upstairs.
Who knows when this inn first opened its doors.
The wooden steps creaked as they moved upstairs, and dust snowed down, raising fears that the stairs would collapse at any moment.
The game didn’t give up: [Are you sure you don’t want to use Psychology]
Zhou Wenyan cocked his brow, “Does this even need a test”
Wasn’t it obvious at a glance that the old lady was hiding something
But the setting is like this, why can’t you cooperate with it!
Zhou Wenyan was too lazy to deal with the game.
They arrived on the second floor with the luggage.
There were five rooms on the second floor.
There was a faint light inside a little door that was half-open in the stairwell leading to the third floor.
It should be the junk room mentioned by the old lady.
When the two passed by it, there was a scream from within that definitely sounded like the photographer’s.
This was followed by the doctor’s frantic voice: “I want to do a Strength Check!”
The non-existent dice landed.
[Strength Check failed.]
The doctor fell apart: “Go away, go away!”
There seemed to be something terrifying hidden in the junk room; it was completely chaotic.
Shen Dongqing wanted to look in but was hauled away by Zhou Wenyan.
“Change your clothes first,” Zhou Wenyan said lightly.
“Don’t be in a hurry.”
Shen Dongqing looked down and realized that the majority of his body was saturated.
When he squeezed his clothes, water started dripping down, which was really unpleasant.
When he looked up, the three players were already rolling and crawling out of the junk room.
The detective couldn’t even form a sentence: “In..in..inside…”
The photographer continued: “There is a ghost!”
The word “ghost” was spoken loudly and clearly, causing a lightning strike outside the window.
The doctor looked a little dazed.
She was a rookie, and even if she incorporated this game field into the RPG she had previously played, the shock of witnessing a menacing ghost with her own eyes could not be lessened.
[The three of you have received Scare and need to do a Sanity Check.
If you pass, your Sanity will be reduced by 1.
Failure will result in a 1d6 reduction in Sanity.]
The detective slowed down a bit: “We are old players, we shall not be intimidated!”
As if he wasn’t the one who had just been terrified into rolling and crawling.
Game: [The detective’s Sanity is reduced by 2, the doctor’s Sanity is reduced by 4, and the photographer’s Sanity is reduced by 1.]
The three people whose names had just been called were in a trance, as if something had been snatched from them in that split second.
“What’s the point of Sanity” wondered Shen Dongqing.
The doctor had a bad run of luck.
Her Sanity was reduced the most and her face was deathly white, but she still answered Shen Dongqing’s question: “According to the setting, if it decreases to a certain level, the debuff will be triggered, and reduction to zero will cause the player to enter a state of lunacy.”
Shen Dongqing thought this mode was quite fun and wanted to interact with the doctor again, but was dragged away by Zhou Wenyan.
Nothing was more important than getting out of wet clothes!
Shen Dongqing had no choice but to be obedient.
The inn’s amenities were old, the rooms were small, and the bathroom was so tiny that it could only be used by one person at a time.
Outside, Zhou Wenyan was organizing the luggage and asked Shen Dongqing to take a shower first.
Shen Dongqing removed his dripping wet jacket and T-shirt and entered the bathroom barefoot.
Who knew how long this room had been unoccupied.
A peculiar odor pervaded the toilet.
Shen Dongqing rubbed his nose and opened the window to ventilate, but after a while, not only did the smell not go away, but it got increasingly worse.
He simply ignored the odor and turned on the tap to test the water temperature.
There was no hot water; only lukewarm water was available.
Shen Dongqing leaned over to wash his hair first.
Lukewarm water poured down.
Shen Dongqing bowed his head, wet his hair, reached for the shampoo, applied it to his hair, and massaged it for a few moments.
While rubbing his hair, he became aware of a sudden itchy sensation on his neck.
It was as if something was lightly brushing across his nape.
[Perform Investigation Check]
Shen Dongqing was quite cooperative: “Yes.”
[You sense something.
You stop washing your hair and slowly raise your head.]
Shen Dongqing simply looked up and saw a mass of black hair hanging from a crack in the ceiling.
Looking at its position, it was just above his nape.
[Begin battle round]
Shen Dongqing curiously sized up the ball of black hair with the wash bubbles on his head: “What does battle round mean Do I have to fight it”
Forget about being afraid.
He was actually restless and reached out his itchy hand to tug at the ball of black hair.
Shen Dongqing saw that this thing was losing hair, therefore he ended up with a handful of hair locks.
This action presumably infuriated the blob, and the black hair parted, revealing the face of a pale woman.
She was nothing more than clumps of black hair wriggling on the ceiling, her body nowhere in sight.
Game: [You have missed the best opportunity to escape.
Enter the battle round.]
Shen Dongqing blinked in confusion: “Just what do you mean”
If the doctor had been present, she would have understood what the “battle round” meant.
The battle round functioned similarly to a turn-based game.
Each side attacks once, depending on their level of agility.
The attack’s outcome was determined by the number rolled on the dice.
The lower the number, the greater the success.
That black hair ball moved first, before Shen Dongqing could get an answer.
She squirmed, her black hair swaying like seaweed around Shen Dongqing’s neck, gently wrapping around it, then suddenly tightened violently, tightened further—
Eh You’re not stopping
Shen Dongqing reached out and grabbed the black hair in the middle, intending to pull this balding female ghost down from the ceiling.
The game threw the dice.
You did not cause ‘her’ any harm.]
The voice ceased, and the black hair ball eventually succumbed, thunking to the floor.
She appeared to understand that the person in front of her was not to be trifled with.
She wiggled, thinking of burrowing into the sewers to escape.
Shen Dongqing stepped on it with a foot and reached out to turn on the faucet, ready to wash the soap bubbles off his head first.
Hair Ghost drowning in foam: …
Shen Dongqing cleaned his hair and looked down, noticed that Hair Ghost’s hair was covered in foam, so he kindly scooped her up and assisted her in washing it clean.
It needs to be mentioned that despite hair loss, the hair of the Hair Ghost was thick.
Shen Dongqing effortlessly hung the ghost on the hook next to him after cleaning it: “It’s terrible behavior to peek at others taking baths, so don’t do it again next time.”
Hair Ghost was mortified and at a complete loss.
Perhaps it had never seen a guest who was such an exotic flower before because it was a ghost from a small-town.
The whole ghost was so stunned that she forgot to attack.
After a moment of silence, the game was compelled to announce: [The battle round has concluded.
It’s a tie.]
Shen Dongqing took a shower and addressed the game, saying, “So, if I’m unlucky and can’t throw good points, I can’t injure other peo… well, no, I mean ghosts”
An effective attack could not be executed no matter how high the character’s strength was as long as the dice roll was lost.
This was a setting expressly designed by the game to limit players like Shen Dongqing.
However, the fact that no third such player had been discovered was cause for celebration.
Otherwise, the game will be messed with until it declares “that’s enough!” and shuts down.
After speaking, the game focused on Shen Dongqing’s emotions.
Will he be upset
Every time, the game became so enraged that it spewed blood and hopped mad.
The thought of upsetting Shen Dongqing caused the mood of the game to fluctuate, which was unusual.
Shen Dongqing: “It’s pretty good.”
“I can play a bit longer,” Shen Dongqing remarked with a grin and began humming a tune.
Those ghosts were too frail to endure playing with him otherwise.
The ghosts lurking in the ancient town shuddered silently for some reason.
The rain outside had finally stopped after a time.
Shen Dongqing emerged from the shower, having long forgotten what he wanted to do just now, and leaned barefoot in front of the window to watch.
The stars were much brighter here than in the city, and the night sky was exceptionally clear, especially after being cleansed by rain.
Zhou Wenyan also finished his shower and approached him: “In a good mood”
Because there was no hair dryer in the inn, water droplets from Zhou Wenyan’s hair trickled down and landed on the back of Shen Dongqing’s neck, sliding all the way down the curve and caused him to shrink his neck.
Shen Dongqing: “Yes.”
He repeated the discourse with the game, emphasizing the importance of throwing dice regardless of what they did.
“Oh,” Zhou Wenyan responded.
“It’s quite interesting.”
If the game found that the various gameplays it was diligently learning and the game mode it worked so hard to figure out were just lightly assessed as “interesting,” it’d undoubtedly be so furious that it would be out for blood.
“It’s just a game of luck,” Zhou Wenyan stated casually as he picked a towel to wipe Shen Dongqing’s hair.
“I’m lucky,” Shen Dongqing laughed, recalling the casino.
Zhou Wenyan: “But…for the new players it’s not necessarily a good thing.”
Shen Dongqing was puzzled: “Huh”
“After all, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on the game…”
Zhou Wenyan didn’t say more, but they were well aware that the game was unfriendly to the players.
If players put too much faith in the game, hehehe…
He removed the towel, lowered his head, and kissed Shen Dongqing on the cheek: “But this has nothing to do with us.
It’s time to go to bed.”
Probably because it was the first night, the game did not arrange any special dramas other than the ghost in the toilet, and the night passed tranquily.
The players gathered for breakfast in the lobby on the first level early the next morning.
It was now the off-season, and there were just a few of them staying in the entire inn.
The other three were all sleep deprived and constantly yawning, in contrast to Shen Dongqing and Zhou Wenyan, who had a decent night’s sleep.
The photographer girl grumbled: “I listened to the cats meowing all night and wanted to go out and take a look, but the stupid game kept throwing dice for me, and it was always unsuccessful, so I simply laid down dead with my eyes closed.”
The doctor: “Me too.”
“Let’s go to the junk room again today, it should be alright during the day,” the detective yawned.
“…Go again” The doctor was clearly afraid.
Shen Dongqing finished his soy milk and set it down, saying, “I’ll go with you.”
Many hands make light work.
The detective knew what to expect and came at the junk room’s door with zeal, but the whole person wilted before entering.
“How about… we go in together”
Shen Dongqing took a step forward and pushed the small door, but it was locked.
Perhaps the elderly lady locked the door assuming they had already found the register from eighteen years ago.
“I have the Unlocking skill,” the detective said, raising his hand.
The doctor stated in a timely manner: “Having Unlocking skill does not guarantee that you will be able to open the door.
You must roll the dice and hope for good luck.”
The detective prayed for a lucky roll.
The game said coldly: [Unlocking failed.]
“This can also fail” The detective couldn’t believe it.
Despite the failure of the dice throw, the door slowly opened.
The players’ expressions were full of doubts:
“Looks like I’m extremely lucky,” Shen Dongqing said as he drew his hand back.
The players and the game fell silent together.
God damn lucky!
The little door had a noticeable hollow, and it no longer closed properly, as if it had been broken.
The detective asked hesitantly, “Why can you open the door without rolling the dice”
“Because I also have unlocking skills,” Shen Dongqing said proudly.
He was also a scourge to all kinds of doors! In various game fields, he had ‘opened’ wooden doors, anti-theft doors, iron doors, and other doors.
The game mediated with itself: […because this is not Unlocking.]
This was door break-in, not door destroying.
What a strange way to use the Unlocking skill!
The doctor mumbled, “His strength must be quite high.”
Shen Dongqing entered the room.
“This is not a real game,” Zhou Wenyan, who was one step behind, declared abruptly.
As a result, it was impossible to completely adhere to the game’s rules.
After all, the people and the game instance were both real.
Death was the true eternal rest, not the so-called tearing up of the character card.
The detective and photographer both trembled, as though they had realized something.
The tiny room was jammed to the brim with many items.
There was no place to turn around when this group of players walked in.
So the two girls stayed outside, the doctor and the photographer, while the other three went inside.
Shen Dongqing extended his hand and waved away the dust in front of him, glancing at the shelves that held a tall stack of registration books.
He blew the dust off it and opened a register, but it wasn’t from eighteen years ago.
The detective knelt down: “It should be lower.
We checked the top shelf yesterday but couldn’t find it.
Something ran out halfway through…”
Game: [You heard faint sounds coming from deep within the junk room.
All players on scene do an Investigation Check.]
[The detective’s Investigation Check Failed.]
[Zhou Wenyan’s Investigation Check Failed.]
[Shen Dongqing’s Investigation Check…a great success!]
The game’s intonation was odd: [You suddenly see faces protruding from the ceiling.
They’re crying, howling, and laughing nastily while staring at you with hatred, and they’re calling out to you, wanting you to be a part of them.]
[You’re filled with dread deep in your heart and want to flee here but…]
Before the game could finish reciting the script, it noticed Shen Dongqing raise his hand and wave it at the faces on the ceiling, greeting: “Hi—”
This was the last straw for the game: […can you cooperate for once]
Shen Dongqing shrugged: “But I’m not at all scared.
I’m not really good at it.”
A minute later, Shen Dongqing had an epiphany.
The game was working so hard to create a better game mode, so he shouldn’t be uncooperative.
It would dampen the game’s fervor.
So Shen Dongqing thought for a second before exaggeratedly adding: “Oh, I’m so scared!”