CNC: Chapter 24

Chapter 24 – Dusk Cruise (6)

All sleepwalkers entered the Nightmare World with a wish.

It didn’t matter whether they had the mentality of preserving the life of a salted fish or trying to win favor by any means. They were all the same in their desire to ‘ask for something.’

It was just that their personalities were different and their eagerness to fulfill the wish was different.

Therefore, the ‘rich rewards’ mentioned by the captain were attractive to some sleepwalkers but no one wanted to show it due to shame and conscience.

In addition, no one could guarantee that they wouldn’t be the next person to die…

“Dear guests, I hope you will think carefully and prepare for the story meeting tonight.”

After he finished speaking, the old captain bowed slightly to everyone. Then he led the waiters out of the banquet hall.

“Then what… should we do next? The youth with the DIY shirt wasn’t grateful for the generous rewards mentioned by the captain. As a newcomer, he was scared and saddened by the two bodies split in half.

The expressions of the others were also subtle. In less than 12 hours, they were about to usher in a new round of horror stories.

“Look for clues to clear the game separately,” the red-haired youth said.

“However, I don’t have any clues now…” The youth looked dejected and had absolutely no idea where to start.

The woman with a big chest said, “Group up. The veterans will take newcomers to find the clues.”

Among the remaining newcomers, only the youth with the DIY shirt and the neutral-looking girl remained calm. Ah Xue and Ah Qing couldn’t think normally and the couple had no plans to join the search for clues.

“You say… will I be like that girl tonight… drowned in the bathtub and floating up…” The girl called Wei Wei firmly grabbed her boyfriend’s hand, looking pale and crazy. Finally, she burst into tears.

Her boyfriend hugged her and comforted her over and over again. “Don’t be afraid. I’ll go to your room tonight to accompany you.”

“But… the rule doesn’t let you…” Wei Wei stared in horror and stopped crying.

Her boyfriend wiped away her tears for her and spoke in a warm voice, “Who cares? How can I let you stay alone tonight?”

The woman with a big chest frowned. She bit a cigarette and looked away while muttering, “A deliberate violation of the rules. This world really isn’t suitable for couples. It is more convenient to be unattached.”

The red-haired youth nodded. “Based on the mental states of these newcomers, it will be a bit difficult for them to live until the next instance. It is hard to say if they can maintain their awakening value, let alone abide by the rules and escape the death trigger.”

Chi Nan turned to the dazed Hei Cha. “What is your awakening value now?”

Hei Cha was stunned for a few seconds. “It is 87…”

He looked at Chi Nan in a panic. “Say, if I hadn’t told the story last night, would that girl…”

“There would just be a new death method and a new dead person,” Chi Nan answered.

Hei Cha’s lips trembled and he remained silent.

“You just happened to be selected. As for the rules, we will find them as soon as possible.”

Hei Cha nodded dejectedly. “I want to take a rest by myself first.”

Chi Nan took out the calming medicine from the medicine bag they brought and had Hei Cha take it. Then he formed a team with Ye Chang to find clues.

“I want to go to the painting exhibition hall.” Chi Nan quickly made a decision. He always had a hunch that the paintings on display might change after the emergence of new dead people.

Ye Chang pushed up his glasses. “We thought of the same thing.”

They went to the painting exhibition hall and the group with the big-chested woman and the DIY t-shirt went with them. It was their first time entering the death exhibition hall. Once the lights turned on, they couldn’t help making a sound and their expressions became extremely ugly. After browsing for less than half a minute, the woman  finally couldn’t hold back and rushed into the corridor to smoke a cigarette.

The youth in the DIY shirt said, “I…”

If he stayed any longer, he would vomit due to these bizarre death paintings.

The thing that was even more frightening than the paintings was the calm attitude of Chi Nan and the newcomer Ye Chang. It was as if these bloody paintings didn’t affect their spirit and judgment.

The woman secretly thought that such calm people were either geniuses or those with a mental illness.

“There is one more painting here.”

In less than five minutes, Chi Nan found a new one among the hundreds of paintings.

In the middle of the painting was a mahjong table covered with white cloth. Among the messy mahjong tiles, the four blood-stained ‘West’ tiles were conspicuous. The blood oozing from the mahjong tiles stained the tablecloth and spread out little by little.

Around the mahjong table sat two women cut in half. They touched the mahjong tile with their only hand and there was a sly smile on their face as they played the ‘West’ tile together.

The row of numbers below the painting happened to be today’s date.”

“There is more here.”

Chi Nan followed Ye Chang’s gaze. In the center of the painting was a bathtub filled with water. A pale and swollen girl floated in the water, long hair mixed in with the water of the bathtub as she clutched a phone.”

The numbers under the painting were exactly the same as the mahjong table painting.

Chi Nan said, “It seems that the time of death and the time of creation are synchronized.”

Ye Chang nodded in agreement before thoughtfully looking at the death paintings. “So once we die, our deaths will be displayed here.’

His lips curled up. “That is quite annoying. We don’t have the right to privacy.’

The two of them met the others to talk about their findings and speculation. The sleepwalkers soon gathered in the gallery and all felt depressed, nauseous and creeped out.

Some of them ran to the bathroom and vomited.

“This painting exhibition hall is open to people and should be part of the clues. Does it imply the way we can do or…” The red-haired youth resisted his discomfort and analyzed the paintings.

The youth with the DIY shirt was horrified. “Do you want to find our own death notices from these paintings one by one…?”

The woman with a big chest was silent for a moment before she looked at Chi Nan. “What do you think?”

“The paintings on display at death methods that have already been ‘used’ and should have nothing to do with the deaths that haven’t happened yet.” Chi Nan turned his eyes to the empty frame. “I’m more curious about what this painting is like.”

The red-haired youth grumbled, “What is the point of hanging these paintings here if not for foreshadowing…”

“Perhaps the person loves art and wants to share their works with others?” Ye Chang answered seriously, like a student answering the teacher’s question well.

Everyone, “……” This boy looked gentle and well-behaved but why was there such a big contrast between what he said and what he did?

Chi Nan glanced at Ye Chang indifferently. The love for art was his perfunctory words yesterday.

They exited the painting exhibition hall at noon. It was lunch time but after this morning, no one was in the mood to eat except for Chi Nan.

He also grabbed Hei Cha to eat with him.

“Where do you want to go after lunch?” Ye Chang grabbed a large box of ice cream and ate it happily.

Chi Nan stared at the ice cream on the spoon and his throat moved slightly. “Go to the deck to bask in the sunlight.”

Ye Chang nodded before scooping up the ice cream with another clean spoon and handing it to Chi Nan. The rich and sweet milk scent rushed to Chi Nan’s nose.

“Would you like to taste some? It is quite delicious and the sweetness is just right.” Ye Chang smiled, eyes squinting slightly behind his glasses.

Chi Nan gulped again. “No need, thank you.”

Then he picked up a lemon and bit it.

Ye Chang laughed. “Do you really hate sweets that much?”

Chi Nan pressed his lips together. “It is a sugar allergy.”

“Oh, I see.” Ye Chang raised an eyebrow and didn’t say anything else.

After lunch, Chi Nan brought Hei Cha outside to bask in the sunlight.

Hei Cha sat on the deck with the sea breeze blowing. He was still listless but after his awakening value returned to 70, he gradually stabilized.

Chi Nan was a bit drowsy in the sunlight.

When first boarding the cruise ship, everyone felt that the sunset at sea was magnificent. Now looking at this bloody sunset, there was an unspeakable sense of penetration.

Even the sparkling sea seemed to be a metaphor for the disaster of blood.

“The sun has sank a bit.” Ye Chang leaned his hands against the railing and looked at the sea level.

Yesterday, the entire sunset hung above the sea level. Today, one-third was swallowed by the sea.

The old captain had said that once the sun fell below the sea and night arrived, the Dusk Cruise Ship journey would end.

“We may not have much time.” Ye Chang turned his head to look at the sleepy Chi Nan.

Before Chi Nan could speak, the voice of the old captain was heard. “Young guests, please enjoy the beautiful sunset.”

Chi Nan turned his head, his green eyes reflecting the sunset. “Captain, do you have time to chat with us?”

The old captain was surprised, as if no guest had ever invited him during his long years of sailing.

Then he smiled politely. “This guest, what do you want to talk about?”

“Dusk and the story of the Dusk Ship.” Chi Nan’s posture was very relaxed like he was a curious passenger wanting to know the history and story of an old cruise ship.

The old captain laughed. “Sorry, the story of the Dusk Cruise Ship needs to be discovered by the guests themselves.”

“Oh, so why is this cruise ship called Dusk?” Chi Nan asked again.

The old captain straightened his back and looked at the horizon in the distance. He was silent for a moment before replying, “Dusk is the most beautiful moment at sea but when dusk comes, travelers wandering on the sea are especially prone to miss their relatives, friends or lover on the shore.”

“I named her Dusk because I believe that this ship will always cross between the sea and the setting sun, so it can come ashore and reunite with them. That day will come soon.”

The old captain’s eyes changed and Chi Nan keenly noticed the despair that passed through his eyes.

“However, there is no way to get to the shore, is there?” Chi Nan asked tentatively.

The captain stiffened suddenly and his expression became cold in an instant. His tone was angry and panicked. “As long as the guests enjoy the journey of the Dusk Cruise Ship, it will carry them to where they want to go. Any place they want to go!”

Then the old captain returned to his cabin.

Hei Cha was surprised by the sudden change in atmosphere and asked in a daze, “Did something happen to the ship? Why is he in such a hurry…”

Chi Nan yawned. “Something must’ve happened and it is important to us.”

***

Time passed quickly and it was soon 8 o’clock in the evening. The setting sun was still hanging above sea level.

The curtains of the banquet hall were opened again and the corpses moved to the window to bathe in the glow of the falling sunlight.

“Dear guests, the new round of storytelling you have been waiting for has finally arrived. I hope to hear more wonderful stories from you tonight.”

The old captain still maintained a polite smile as he looked at the group enthusiastically. However, no one looked into his eyes or spoke.

It was silent for 10 minutes.

“No one wants to tell a story tonight?” The old captain looked at everyone inquiring.

There was still no response. Everyone was either looking at each other or down at their toes.

The old captain smiled with great regret. “If any of the guests don’t tell a story then I’m sorry, that guest will face the severe punishment of the Dusk Ship.”

The group’s hearts sank. The red-haired youth asked in a hoarse voice, “…What type of punishment is it?”

The old man spread out his hands. “There is a special room on the Dusk Ship that is generally closed to the public. However, if any guest forgets to tell a story then we will ask them to stay overnight in that room.”

“Special… what is so special?”

The old captain smiled secretly and raised his voice. “It contains a special gift left by the passengers of the Dusk Cruise Ship. As for the specifics… only the guests who stay in it will know.”

Just as everyone was horrified and had goosebumps, Chi Nan said in a low voice, “I’m looking forward to it.”

He spoke with great sincerity.

Hei Cha, “……”

Ye Chang saw it and smiled. “I’m also looking forward to it.”

“Right.” Ye Chang looked at the old captain and calmly asked, “How many people can stay in this special room?”

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    CiCi

    I am also looking forward to reading your experience!