Ch116 – The Cycle of Karma, What Goes Around Comes Around (30)
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 gla.s.s 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 gla.s.s 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 gla.s.s 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 pa.s.s 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 d.a.m.ned gla.s.s.
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 hoa.r.s.e 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.
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 b.l.o.o.d.y 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 b.l.o.o.d.y 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 f.u.c.k your mother!” Qiao Yun was furious from his questioning. “What are you pretending for? If you’re so n.o.ble, last time when we ran into that headless ghost, why didn’t you ‘oh so n.o.bly’ stay behind and let it eat you? Laoniang helped you all block a disaster, and ended up covered in blood for it. You f.u.c.king 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 gla.s.s, 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 gla.s.s 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 gla.s.s wall, the gaps on the left and right sides were already able to allow a person to pa.s.s 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 b.l.o.o.d.y flesh and broken bones or look for that unconfirmed second method.
After everyone stepped into the dark door, the door abruptly shut.
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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.
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 cla.s.s 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 pa.s.sing 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 b.a.l.l.s, 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.”
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