CNC: Chapter 21 Part 1

Chi Nan paused as he was about to clean up the tableware. Before he could open his mouth, Hei Cha across from him answered, “He is a poor child but I don’t think he will be normal when he grows up.”

“Why do you say that?” Ye Chang seemed very interested in this young master. His tone was somewhat different from before.

“How can a child who grows up in such an environment be normal? Originally, your family has a great influence on your character.” Hei Cha expressed his opinion. “His parents have treated him as a sacrifice since he was born. He needs a lot of mental strength to not go crazy, let alone be normal…”

“I see.” Maybe it was because Ye Chang’s eyes were hidden behind the glasses when facing the light, making it impossible to see his expression. “Brother Nan, do you think so too?”

Chi Nan was silent for a moment before shaking his head. “He is a very likeable child.”

Ye Chang stared at him and the corners of his lips raised slightly. “Really?”

“Your preference is too unique. Will you also go in this direction when looking for a partner later?” Hei Cha teased Chi Nan.

Chi Nan didn’t care about the joke and seriously thought about it. “If I can find someone.”

“Wow, you really like yanderes. “ Hei Cha watched Chi Nan clean up the dinner plate and asked him, “Have you finished eating?”

“Yes, you guys eat slowly. I will go around the cruise ship first to look for any clues. Let’s meet at the banquet hall at 7:50.”

Chi Nan left the restaurant and looked for a breakthrough using the map in the corridor. Now that he had eyes, he no longer needed to rely on his teammates to search for likes as he did in the previous instance. He could immerse himself in the Nightmare World.

In fact, he always felt it was a pity. If he could see earlier, he would’ve been able to see You Yu with his own eyes. As for the question that Ye Chang just asked…

He would always remember the fire at the end when You Yu raised his angelic face and told Bai Yingzhi with crazy and innocent eyes, “Mom, let’s go to hell together. I love you.”

So was this abnormal behavior in the human world? Yet clearly in that moment, he couldn’t look away from the extremely crazy and dangerous beauty of You Yu’s body…

Chi Nan didn’t understand it very well and shook his head. He quickly pulled away from these emotions and noted down that the Dusk Cruise Ship wasn’t particularly large. There were a total of five floors.

The restaurant, banquet hall, public bathrooms, gyms, recreation rooms, public areas and rest areas for the ship’s personnel were all located on the first and second floors. Meanwhile, the guest rooms were mainly located on the third, fourth and fifth floors. The map of the ship was memorized by Chi Nan.

He noticed that the northernmost area of the first floor was a painting exhibition hall. Chi Nan was very sensitive to information related to paintings. He had a ‘give it a try’ mentality as he asked a service staff member who happened to be passing by, “Hello, can I please ask if the paintings exhibition hall is open to the public now?”

The waiter gave him a stiff smile unique to NPCs. “Dear guest, you can go to any public area for entertainment during the free time.”

“Okay.” Chi Nan thanked the waiter and intended to follow the map to the paintings exhibition hall to see.

“Wait a minute, Sir.” The waiter stopped him and handed him a travel brochure. “This is the introduction of our paintings exhibition hall. Perhaps you can use it.”

“Thank you.” Chi Nan took the brochure and immediately glanced through it.

The brochure briefly introduced the background of the exhibition hall, including the date of construction, the size of the paintings and the concept that the entire exhibition hall wanted to convey—death and eternity.

Chi Nan’s eyes stayed longer on the date of the exhibition hall’s construction and noted down the time as November 27th, 1927.

By the time he closed the book and looked up again, the waiter standing in front of him was gone. He had disappeared completely from the corridor where there was no fork in the road. All the coincidences just now were like he just appeared there, answered Chi Nan’s question and gave him the brochure.

At the end of the corridor was a closed red door. It was locked and had a sign that indicated the paintings exhibition hall. Chi Nan’s footsteps paused before he continued forward, intending to take a close look.

He was just one step away from the door when something weird happened. The key turned in the door hole. The red door slowly opened and the lights in the exhibition hall lit up, as if they were specially welcoming Chi Nan.

He was just about to step forward when a familiar voice was heard behind him. “Do you want to go in by yourself?”

Chi Nan turned back and saw Ye Chang standing in the corridor with a can of Coke in his hand. Somehow, this can of Coke reminded him of the prank can that the dream maker had handed him at Dawn Base. It wasn’t a pleasant memory.

“Do you mind if I go with you?” Ye Chang asked again.

“Are you afraid?” Chi Nan asked.

Ye Chang smiled and quickened his pace to follow. “I’m not afraid. In fact, I quite like these things… that everyone finds scary.”

He pushed his glasses up shyly. “This is strange to the average person, right?”

“What a coincidence, I am the same.” Then Chi Nan and Ye Chang entered the exhibition hall.

The exhibition hall was around 200 square meters. The four walls had hundreds of paintings densely hung. The compact layout made the small exhibition hall seem cramped and depressing. Of course, the most breathtaking thing was the content of the painting.

The content and style of each painting were different but the theme was strangely unified. It depicted the process of human death. Falling from buildings, car accidents, slashing the wrists, hanging, drowning, buried alive… hundreds of paintings showed hundreds of ways to die, some of which were tricky and unheard of. Without exception, these deaths were depicted vividly by the painter. The fear and pain on the faces of the deceased clearly leapt from the paper.

“Look, every painting seems to be marked with a string of numbers.”

“19970808, 20011126, 19990223…” Chi Nan looked at the numbers one by one. “It should be a date. Perhaps it is the creation time of each painting? But they aren’t arranged in order.”

Ye Chang also looked at the paintings. “Is it the time when the character in the painting died?”

Chi Nan thought about it. “Or the creation time of the painting is the same as the death of the character.”

“Then how were these paintings created? Why are they here? What do they want to tell us?” Ye Chang looked at the paintings and spoke to himself. “These paintings are too real and detailed.”

“By the way, Brother Nan, how did you think of coming to the exhibition hall?” Ye Chang asked again.

Chi Nan blinked and lied. “I love art.”

Ye Chang, “……”

Chi Nan wondered, “What about you?”

“I was looking for you.” Ye Chang’s eyes curved behind the lens.

“Huh?”

“Just now, I met a waiter in the corridor. I asked him if he saw you and he pointed me in the direction of the paintings exhibition hall.” Ye Chang spoke sincerely. “Brother Cha said your clue finding ability is unique. I wanted to follow you to study you.”

“Maybe he would point you here regardless of whether I came to the exhibition hall or not.”

Chi Nan looked at all the paintings and confirmed it didn’t have what he was looking for.

“It seems there is a missing painting.” Chi Nan walked to the deepest part of the exhibition hall. There was an empty picture frame hanging there and the painting in the frame was missing.

Ye Chang’s gaze followed him and saw the obvious scratches under the painting. “The numbers below have been deliberately erased.

They knew it was an important clue but they still had too little information. There was no way to make an effective inference. The two of them wandered around the death paintings exhibition hall for a while. They didn’t leave it and walked toward the banquet hall until 7:40.

Hei Cha stood at the entrance of the banquet hall and waved to them. “F*k, I want to pick up a dessert just then. Why did you disappear when I turned my head?”

“Ah sorry, I want to find Brother Nan…” Ye Chang was very embarrassed. “I forgot to say something to you when I left.”

Hei Cha didn’t really care. “How about it? Did you find any useful clues?”

Chi Nan told him about the discovery of the death paintings exhibition hall and Hei Cha was creeped out. “Fortunately, the one who found it is you. Normal people would suffer from an art exhibition PTSD…”

Ye Chang opened his mouth. “The strange phenomenon on the Dusk Cruise seems to be related to ‘death’ and the process of death itself.”

“It feels spiritual.” Hei Cha got some goosebumps at the thought of telling ghost stories on such a ship later.

8 o’clock.

The old captain’s vigorous voice was heard from the center of the banquet hall. “Dear guests, thank you for attending the night of dusk horror stories on time. We have prepared drinks and snacks. I hope you have a wonderful evening.”

The sleepwalkers in the banquet hall had different expressions. How could a night of horror stories be wonderful?

“You can sit where you like but try to be as close as possible to facilitate the exchange of stories.” The old captain smiled vigorously and bowed slightly.

Chi Nan picked a position that was relatively biased so he could hear everything. Hei Cha naturally wanted to sit next to him but unexpectedly, Ye Chang got there a step before him. Hei Cha could only move a stool to sit on Chi Nan’s other side.

“It is 8 o’clock in the evening but the sun really shows no sign of setting.” Ye Chang said as he looked out the window.

Their position was facing a large area of French windows in the west. The sunset’s rays came in obliquely through the windows and the entire banquet hall was coated with a layer of red.

Chi Nan instinctively looked in the direction of the French windows. Ye Chang’s position was facing the direction of light. Chi Nan looked over and Ye Chang’s silhouette was outlined. Due to the angle, Ye Chang’s glasses reflected the light and his face became blurred.

Hei Cha said happily, “Dusk is better than night. Isn’t it more terrifying to tell ghost stories in the dark?”

The old captain seemed to hear their conversation and smiled. “Dusk is the transition from day to night. It is actually closer to another world than midnight.”

His voice was loud. The rest of the sleepwalkers in the room heard it and a chill went down their spines.

The old captain smiled. “I’m joking. It is to heat up the atmosphere.”

Everyone, “……”

Seeing the cold expressions of the people present, the old captain seemed very satisfied. “Then I’ll tell you another legend about the ship.”

“There are many supernatural things at sea. During the long journey, accidents can’t be avoided. There are always staff members who aren’t careful when cleaning a room where an accident occurred or they deal with it in a hurry. This way, the next batch of passengers found some clues in the cabin.”

“The Dusk Cruise has floated at sea for nearly a hundred years. Passengers come and go. The souls left on the ship due to various accidents are likely to be trapped at sea and can no longer leave. They will stay on the dusk journey forever.”

At this point, the captain laughed in a soft and nostalgic manner, making everyone present feel horrified.

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