Candleman Festival (5)
The cafeteria suddenly quieted down. The young mother’s already ugly expression became even more nervous.
Rui Rui shoved a big apple into her mother’s hand. “Mom, don’t be afraid. You aren’t alone.”
The young mother finally smiled with relief and bit the apple. “It is so sweet.”
Old Yu looked at the black funeral dresses of the mother and daughter. “Can I take the liberty to ask, were you going to a funeral before you entered the Nightmare World?”
He was a bit concerned about why Rui Rui was an experienced sleepwalker while her mother was a newcomer. It was reasonable to say that the two of them had entered at the same time, or else why would they be wearing the same style of funeral clothing?
The young mother looked confused for a moment and she muttered to herself, “Yes… funeral… Whose funeral was it? Whose….”
Everyone’s expression changed subtly when they heard this, and they looked at the young mother who was in a daze.
“Mom, it’s okay.” Rui Rui rubbed her little cheek against her mother. “We’ll be able to bring Dad home soon.”
It was only then that the fog in the young mother’s eyes cleared and was replaced by sadness and loneliness. “…My husband passed away and Rui Rui and I came here to exchange points for her father’s life. Then the three of us will go home safely.”
“Sorry.” Old Yu was a bit embarrassed. “I hope your wish will come true.”
Rui Rui was much stronger than her mother and explained, “Mom has been in a trance because of Dad’s death. I am protecting her.”
“If there is anything you need help with, just ask your brothers and sisters,” Wu Ying liked children so she spoke warmly.
Rui Rui nodded optimistically. “Yes. Thank you, Sister.”
Chi Nan lowered his eyes and didn’t speak. The little girl’s explanation didn’t explain why they entered the instances at different times but were wearing the same funeral clothing.
Still, this matter was passed over and no one mentioned it again. After all, it was the person closest to the mother and daughter who had passed away.
They finished eating and went back to their rooms. Bai Chuan was still worried about the empty box and was distracted.
Gu Xiao looked at him in a worried manner. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
Bai Chuan spoke a bit hesitantly, “I…always feel that it isn’t right.”
Gu Xiao was also worried but the more frightened he was, the more he acted indifferent so as to convince himself he wasn’t afraid. “Don’t think about it. Tomorrow, we will ask the female foreman about the box.”
“Still, why is it an empty box? What did the foreman say when she handed me the box? Whether the Candleman Festival is held smoothly will depend on us. What does this mean? In addition, there is that exhibition hall… Are we going to a funeral?”
He was originally fine but once Bai Chuan opened his mouth, he kept thinking about increasingly terrifying things. The more he thought about it, the uneasier he became.
Gu Xiao used impatience to cover up his fear. “Don’t talk nonsense and pay attention to your awakening value. A high awakening value is much more terrifying than a funeral.”
Bai Chuan nodded but not long after, he looked at Gu Xiao with a dissatisfied look. “You are more experienced than me. Why didn’t you remind me at that time?”
“Huh? Remind you of what?”
“The gun shoots the lead bird. Aren’t we the lead birds now? Did those sleepwalkers deliberately fool around when making the candles to use us to test the rules?”
As a newcomer, Bai Chuan’s awakening value had risen to 84 and his tone had become irritated and unfriendly.
Gu Xiao glanced at his roommate who was throwing a tantrum and thought to himself, “Who was rushing to do it at the time? Who was the one rushing to complete my share? Who was so eager to get the reward that you couldn’t hold back? Now something went wrong and you are starting to blame others?”
However, he endured the desire to scold the other person and said as peacefully as possible, “Okay okay okay, blame me but blaming me is useless. We are grasshoppers on a rope. We must first get through the night safely.”
Bai Chuan suddenly raised his head nervously. “Or should we go back to the production workshop? Did the contents of the box fall there?”
Gu Xiao inwardly rolled his eyes while his tone was as patient as possible to persuade the other person. “You should listen to my advice and obediently wait until morning to ask. In the Nightmare World, night often represents death.”
Under Gu Xiao’s strong persuasion, Bai Chuan finally gave up on all types of dangerous ideas for the time being.
The two of them entered the room and checked all of its corners. They locked the doors and windows and didn’t even leave the vents open.
After some busy work, Gu Xiao said, “There should be no problem. Sleep first. Sleep will also affect the awakening value.”
Bai Chuan had no choice but to nod. “I’ve always slept very deeply. I’ll try to be more alert tonight.”
However, it turned out he overestimated his ability to adapt. Bai Chuan, who had always slept well, couldn’t sleep during this night.
His body was very sleepy, but his nerves seemed to be suspended on an invisible thin line. They were stretched very tight. Just as he was about to sink into sleep, he was pulled back. His consciousness hovered on the edge of being awake and dreaming.
Half dreaming and half awake, he seemed to hear the sounds of voices. They were very soft and seemed to spread up along the wooden planks underneath the bed. They skimmed over his ears and drilled directly into his brain through the flesh and bone.
It was noisy, louder than any lively occasion he had been to.
Bai Chuan was horrified by the indescribable sound. He simply gave up on sleeping and planned to get up and turn on the light. Yet the moment he opened his eyes, he was struck by a strong beam of light that hurt his eyes. Bai Chuan struggled a few times before opening them smoothly.
He covered his eyes with his hands and found that the light was coming from the candles shining outside the window.
He didn’t know if it was an illusion, but he kept feeling that the brightness of the light was much stronger than when he was asleep.
“You can’t sleep either?” Gu Xiao, who was facing the bed, turned over and looked at him with open eyes.
Bai Chuan had already slightly adjusted to the light and he nodded. “There were voices and it was too noisy.”
Gu Xiao had convinced himself not to be afraid but once he heard this, he shivered and his body was covered in sweat. “Voices? I…didn’t hear them. Isn’t this room quiet? Where did the voices come from?”
He couldn’t help thinking about how Rui Rui mentioned this morning that there were strange voices coming from under her bed…
Gu Xiao instinctively looked at the bottom of the bed that was hidden in the shadows before quickly looking away. His voice trembled as he asked, “Were you sleeping? Did you hear it incorrectly?”
He really wanted to hear an affirmative answer from Bai Chuan.
However, Bai Chuan shook his head with a pale face. “I don’t know. The voices seemed to be coming from my mind.”
“Huh? What do you mean?” Gu Xiao was scared and confused.
Bai Chuan’s eyes froze for a moment. “It…isn’t like ordinary noise… Usually sound comes from the ears…but just now I heard…the sound seemed to be coming from my body… It was noisy and uncomfortable…”
The more Gu Xiao listened, the more anxious he became. He couldn’t help shivering. “Don’t scare people.”
Bai Chuan’s lips moved but in the end, he didn’t say anything. He just sat on the bed next to the wall. He looked up slightly at the top of the window diagonally above him and asked, “Gu Xiao, do you think the light outside the window tonight is particularly bright?”
Gu Xiao followed his gaze to the window. “Your words are true but it looks like your side is much brighter than mine.”
“Yes, perhaps it was this light that interfered with my sleep.”
Gu Xiao’s expression changed slightly. “Wait, any abnormality in an instance might be an important clue. Go and see what is going on.”
The moment he finished speaking, Bai Chuan immediately stood on the bed and tiptoed to look out. Then his face turned pale. “I… Outside my window… A lit candle.”
The candlelight flickered and jumped, reflecting the fear on his face through the extremely polished glass.
After all, he saw a lit candle outside his window in the middle of the night and the light of the fire was like a visit to a grave. No one would feel comfortable…
Gu Xiao was so afraid that his palms were sweaty, but he thought that he was a sleepwalker who had passed an instance. He reluctantly gritted his teeth and went over to find out.
He saw the lit candle on the windowsill and his breathing stagnated. This was a human-shaped candle! The wax was also very strange. The yellow wax with red strands looked like blood was mixed in…
“This isn’t right! It absolutely isn’t right!” Gu Xiao’s voice trembled and he looked nervously at Bai Xuan. “Did you do something? Did you trigger a death mechanism or any other dangerous situation?”
Bai Chuan’s nerves were also stretched to the limit. “No! I’ve been with everyone! There is nothing special…”
Then he suddenly froze and his eyes widened. “The Excellent Volunteer reward… The empty box given by the foreman…”
In the light of the candle, the two of them looked at each other with trepidation and breathed heavily.
Gu Xiao was somewhat experienced so he took a deep breath and persuaded himself to calm down. “Don’t panic first. I’ll go find Old Yu and the others to come over.”
“I’ll go with you!” Bai Chuan immediately followed. He didn’t want to be alone in this gloomy candlelight.
However, something even more terrible happened. The two of them jumped out of bed to go to the door, only to find that the door had disappeared…
The original location of the door had become a wall. It was airtight and enclosed the entire dormitory into a confined space.
They instinctively looked up and found that even the windows had disappeared. The strange humanoid candle seemed to have grown feet and was now stuck on Bai Chuan’s pillow.
“This… How can this be?” Bai Chuan couldn’t help taking a step back. His legs bumped into the edge of Gu Xiao’s bed and he reflexively fell on the bed, facing the strange candle flame.
Gu Xiao’s voice got stuck in his throat and his body was covered with goosebumps. It took him a moment before he said hoarsely, “We’ve…probably been selected to be the first…candle people.”
Candle people…candle people… So they were going to be like those candle people in the exhibition hall…placed in a strange cemetery-like house for the next group of volunteers to visit?
“The box… I’m going to look at the box!” Bai Chuan’s survival instinct made him jump up from the bed and crazily look for the empty box that was originally put in his bag. His hands shook as he opened the lid of the box. Then he saw that there was a small note in the originally empty box.
The note read: You are the best volunteer on the first night. We will give you the gift that best represents Candleman Town. I believe you have received the gift when you see this note. I sincerely hope that you and your roommate can have a bright and wonderful night.
On this bright and beautiful night, the two of them looked at the flickering candlelight and the hairs on their body stood up.
They couldn’t sit still… Do something… Do something…
“Water! Quickly bring the kettle over!” Gu Xiao yelled. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to move, but that his legs were so frightened that he couldn’t even move to get the kettle on the table.
Bai Chuan might be a pure newcomer and overly afraid, but at this moment, he had a bit of courage. He quickly picked up the kettle. It was just right that it was half filled with water.
Fire was most afraid of water. If this strange humanoid candle could be extinguished, then maybe…!
Bai Chuan quickly opened the lid and poured the cold water on the candle. Just as the two of them were about to sigh with relief, the candle that seemed to be extinguished started burning again. The flames even seemed to burn more vigorously…
The two of them were really frightened at this time. The candle that couldn’t be extinguished by water was beyond their common sense and cognition…
Bai Chuan gulped hard. “How come… How can this be?”
Gu Xiao, whose nerves had been stretched to the limit, heard a strange noise coming from behind Bai Chuan. He turned his head and his eyes widened in the candlelight. It was just that he seemed to be choked by something and couldn’t make a sound.
Just then, the shadow projected by Bai Chuan on the wall was approaching them little by little. It was as if it had separated from Bai Chuan and had become an independent individual.
“W-What’s wrong?” Bai Chuan saw that Gu Xiao was staring behind him and paled. He had a bad feeling.
It was just that he was too scared and didn’t dare to turn back to confirm it.
“S-Shadow…” Gu Xiao almost exhausted all his mental strength before he could say these words. The shadow was getting closer and bigger. It was like a pool of black stagnant water spreading on the ground…
“Gu Xiao! Behind you!”
Bai Chuan also saw the exact same scene behind Gu Xiao!
The moment he called out, two shadows quickly wrapped around the two young men whose legs had been scared powerless. They were wrapped in darkness, and before they could regain their freedom, the shadows eroded and swallowed their masters.
They spread from the tips of their fingertips to their limbs and torsos. The two boys were completely unable to move and had to watch their bodies turn to translucent wax little by little. The wax mixed with red blood flowed over their hearts and solidified their expressions of astonishment and horror forever.
In less than three seconds, the room was completely silent. The vanished door reappeared on the wall and the windows reappeared. Behind the shiny glass was a mess of candle flames, flickering and burning alone in the silent night.